(16 November 2018) – In 2016, about 3.4 million first residence permits were issued in the European Union to non-EU citizens, a record number since 2008. The main beneficiaries were from Ukraine, Syria and the United States.
This increase was mainly due to the larger number of first permits issued for ‘other reasons’ (+64%) as well as for employment reasons (+21%). Employment reasons accounted for a quarter (25.4%) of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2016, family for 23.2% and education for 20.7%, while other reasons, including international protection and humanitarian status (about 14% of all first permits issued in 2016), represented 30.7%.
In 2016, one out of four first residence permits was issued in the United Kingdom (865 900 residence permits issued, or 25.8% of total permits issued in the EU). It was followed by Poland (586 000, or 17.5%), Germany (504 800, or 15.0%), France (235 000, or 7.0%), Italy (222 400, or 6.6%), Spain (211 500, or 6.3%) and Sweden (146 700, or 4.4%).
Compared to the population of each Member State, the highest rates of first resident permits issued in 2016 were recorded in Malta (20.6 first residence permits issued per thousand inhabitants), Cyprus (19.9), Poland (15.4) Sweden (14.8) and the UK (13.2).
In 2016, citizens of Ukraine (588 900 beneficiaries, of which 87% in Poland) continued to receive the highest number of permits in the EU, ahead of citizens of Syria (348 100, of which almost two-thirds in Germany), the United States (250 900, of which almost three-quarters in the UK), India (198 400, of which over 60% in the UK) and China (195 600, of which a majority in the UK). Around half of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2016 were issued to citizens of these five countries.