Cyprus has issued the second highest number of first residence permits per 1000 of population at 26%, whilst Greece sits below the EU 7% average at under 5%, according to the latest figures from Eurostat.
Overall, there were 3 million first residence permits issued in the EU in 2019 to non-EU citizens, an increase of 6% (or 163 000) compared with 2018, continuing the upward trend observed since 2013. Employment-related reasons accounted for 41% of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2019, family reasons for 27%, education reasons for 14%, while other reasons, including international protection, accounted for 18%.
In 2019, Poland issued a quarter of all first residence permits granted in the EU to non-EU citizens (724,000 or 25% of total permits issued in the EU), followed by Germany (460,000 or 16%), Spain (320,000 or 11%), France (285,000 or 10%), Italy (176,000 or 6%) and Czechia (117,000 or 4%).
Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rate of first permits issued in 2019 was recorded in Malta (42 permits issued per 1000 population), ahead of Cyprus (26%), Poland (19%), Slovenia (15%) and Luxembourg (14%). For the EU as a whole in 2019, seven first residence permits were issued per 1000 population.
757,000 Ukrainians received first residence permits in the EU Member States in 2019, making them the largest citizenship group among all recipients.
Almost four out of five of these permits were issued by Poland. Citizens of Morocco (133,000 permits, of which 47% were issued in Spain) and India (131,000, of which 19% in Germany) followed. Citizens of these countries accounted for over one-third (35%) of all first residence permits issued in 2019.
Among the top 10 citizenships granted permits in the EU in 2019, employment was the main reason for permits issued to Ukrainians, accounting for 87% of all first residence permits issued to Ukrainians in 2019, and Belarusians (58%). Family was the prevailing reason for permits granted to Moroccans (59%), and education for permits issued to Chinese (40%) and citizens of the United States (37%).
Other reasons, namely refugee status and subsidiary protection, were predominant for Syrians (65%).