(Sharecast News) - Switzerland is set to vote on Sunday on whether to end its agreement with the European Union that allows free movement of people between the two jurisdictions.
The right-wing, anti-immigration party in the country, which is currently the largest in parliament, called for the vote and argued that the country should decide its immigration policies independently.
According to the Guardian, polls forecast the SVP will not be successful with around 63% of respondents saying that they would vote against the initiative.
Non-nationals account for roughly a quarter of Switzerland's 8.6m inhabitants and continued immigration is forecast to swell the population to about 10m over the next 30 years.
"Migrants change our culture," the SVP's referendum campaign website says. "Public squares, trains and streets become less safe. In addition, practically half of all welfare recipients are foreigners."
Opponents say tearing up its free movement accord with the EU would rob the country of skilled workers and endanger the complex network of more than 120 bilateral treaties it has with the bloc.
The government said that if voters reject free movement, another six agreements that remove key barriers between Switzerland and the EU in trade, transport and other areas would be cut too.
Alliance News UK - start of day