Article by Mats Persson
'In 2012, according to Eurostat, gross EU immigration to Switzerland was 90,107. This amounts to a gross inflow of 11.33 EU migrants per 1000 of its population. In comparison, gross EU migration to the UK was 157,554, but only at a rate of 2.48 per 1000 of its population. Norway, in the European Economic Area, also had a rate of gross EU immigration far higher than the UK, with 7.38 EU migrants per 1000 of its population.
In other words, if the UK had the same rate of EU immigration as Switzerland in 2012, the gross inflow of EU migration would have been 719,248 rather than the actual figure of 157,554. That’s just over four and a half times more.
The stocks of foreign-born people in each country tell a similar story. Both countries have higher foreign-born populations than the EU average, but Switzerland’s is much larger than the UK’s. Those born within the EU account for 15 per cent of Switzerland’s population while in the UK it is only 4.19 per cent, much closer to the EU average of 3.45 per cent.
Yes, but the point, I hear you say, is that Switzerland and Norway have much more democratic control over their immigration policy than the UK. This is only semi-true for Switzerland. And Norway, which is outside the EU but inside the European Economic Area and Schengen, arguably has less control over its borders than the UK – exactly the same free movement rules but no votes on these rules.
Switzerland is more complicated. The country is outside the EU but subject to almost the same free movement rules as the UK (via the bilateral Free Movement of Persons Agreement, which will give citizens of Bulgaria and Romania full access to the Swiss Labour market as of 31 May 2016 at the latest).'