The FINANCIAL — In 2017, about 3.1 million first residence permits were issued in the European Union (EU) to non-EU citizens.
The number increased almost by 4% (or 112 000) compared with 2016. Employment reasons accounted for almost one-third (32%) of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2017, family reasons for 26%, education reasons for 17%, and other reasons, including international protection, for 24%.
The increase in the total number of first residence permits in 2017 in comparison with 2016 was mainly due to the increasing number of first permits issued for employment reasons (up by 155 000, or 18%), family reasons (up by 49 000, or 6%) and education reasons (up by 30 000, or 6%), whereas the number of first permits issued for other reasons decreased by 123 000 (-14%).
Highest number of first residence permits issued in Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom
In 2017, one out of five first residence permits was issued in Poland (683 000, or 22% of total permits issued in the EU), followed by Germany (535 000, or 17%), the United Kingdom (517 000, or 16%), France (250 000, or 8%), Spain (231 000, or 7%), Italy (187 000, or 6%) and Sweden (130 000, or 4%).
Compared to the population of each Member State, the highest rates of first resident permits issued in 2017 were recorded in Malta (23 permits issued per thousand population), Cyprus (22), Poland (18), Sweden (13) and Luxembourg (12). For the EU as a whole in 2017, 6 first residence permits were issued per thousand population.
For employment in Poland, for education in the United Kingdom
Poland (597 000 permits, or 59% of all permits issued for employment reasons in the EU in 2017) was the top country for employment related permits. The United Kingdom (180 000 permits, or 34%) was the top country in the EU for education related reasons. With over 100 000 permits each, Germany (157 000, or 19%), Spain (126 000, or 15%), Italy (113 000, or 14%) and the United Kingdom (101 000, or 12%) were the four Member States with the highest number of permits issued for family reasons in 2017.
Germany was also the top country in the EU for other reasons with 277 000 permits (36%), issued in 2017, of which the majority were for refugee status and subsidiary protection (248 000) and protection for humanitarian reasons (21 000).
Employment reasons tend to prevail across individual Member States
In 2017, in eleven Member States, the largest numbers of permits were issued for employment reasons, with the highest shares observed in Poland (87% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Lithuania (74%), Croatia (72%) and Slovenia (62%). In ten Member States, the main reason for issuing residence permits was family related, with the highest shares being recorded in Italy (60% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Spain (54%) and Belgium (51%).
Education was the main reason in Ireland (58% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), the United Kingdom (35%) and Romania (34%). Other reasons were predominant in four Member States: Austria (62% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Germany (52%), Bulgaria (39%) and the Netherlands (32%).
Half of residence permits granted to seven citizenships
In 2017, citizens of Ukraine (662 000 beneficiaries, of which almost 88% in Poland) continued to receive the highest number of permits in the EU, ahead of citizens of Syria (223 000, of which almost two-thirds in Germany), China including Hong Kong (193 000, of which almost half in the United Kingdom), India (163 000, of which 44% in the United Kingdom) and the United States (147 000, of which over half in the United Kingdom), Morocco (108 000, of which 41% in Spain) and Afghanistan (87 000, of which around 61% in Germany). About half of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2017 were issued to citizens of these seven countries.