Germans have become the largest immigrant group, ahead of the Italians, in the region around Switzerland’s largest city of Zürich (population in 2007 1,307,567 ). Zürich is the economical capital of the country where the Swiss and foreign banks have respectively their headquarters and local offices.
In fact every other foreign worker had a German passport in 2007, according to the local statistics office.
The labour accord with the EU has had a lasting impact on immigration numbers and patterns in Zurich. The biggest increase came last year when quotas for residence permits were lifted for citizens from member states of the EU and the European Free Trade Association.
More than 66,100 Germans had registered in canton Zurich by September 2008. The trend has had repercussions for the high-end labour market. One hundred and sixty-five out of the 490 professors at Zurich University hailed from Germany. High-level of education workers come to Switzerland because of the advantageous wages and life conditions. They have additionally the possibility to present their work to an international public.
“Zurich seems to be their favourite city. Top qualified Germans find a job more easily here and they earn more than at home,” said Joe Ferrer of the Statistics Office.