GENEVA (AA) – The Swiss are voting in three referendums Sunday on whether to cut immigration, to increase gold reserves, and to abolish tax privileges for foreigners.
This is the second vote to limit immigration since February and aims to reduce immigration from about 80,000 to 16,000 people a year.
Supporters of the immigration cut are concerned about the increase in the number of foreign population and say immigration cut will protect the resources and the environment of the country.
However, opponents say limits on immigration will badly affect the economy and relations with the EU as most of the foreigners living in Switzerland are from EU states.
According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, Switzerland has a population of about 8.18 million and foreign nationals make up about a quarter of the population of the country.
– Gold assets
The gold referendum has drawn the attention of financial markets as it may lead to a gold rush if it is accepted.
If the Swiss vote “Yes” in the vote, the Swiss National Bank will have to hold at least 20 percent of its assets in gold.
The bank will also have to buy about 1,500 tonnes of gold over the next five years and will be prohibited from selling its gold reserves.
A third referendum is also taking place to abolish tax privileges for foreign nationals.
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