The FINANCIAL -- In 2015, 2.6 million first residence permits were issued in the European Union (EU) to non-EU citizens, a record number since the data collection began (2008) and up by 12.1% compared with 2014.
This increase was mainly due to the higher number of first permits issued for employment reasons (+23.5%, from slightly less than 0.6 million in 2014 to more than 0.7 million last year). Accounting for 28.9% of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2015, family remained the main reason of deliverance, followed by employment (27.2%), other reasons (23.8%) and education (20.2%).
Highest number of first residence permits issued in the United Kingdom and Poland
In 2015, one out of four first residence permits was issued in the United Kingdom (633 000 residence permits issued, or 24.3% of total permits issued in the EU) and one in five in Poland (541 600, or 20.8%). They were followed by France (226 600, or 8.7%), Germany (194 800, or 7.5%), Spain (192 900, or 7.4%) and Italy (178 900, or 6.9%).
Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rates of first resident permits issued in 2015 were recorded in Malta (23.1 first residence permits issued per thousand population), Cyprus (18.4), Poland (14.3) Sweden (11.3) and the United Kingdom (9.7). In 2015, 5.1 first residence permits were issued per thousand population in the EU.
For employment in Poland, for education in the United Kingdom
Poland (375 300 permits, or 53% of all permits issued for employment reasons in the EU in 2015) was by far the first destination for employment related permits, while the United Kingdom (229 100 permits, or 44%) was the primary destination in the EU for education related reasons. With over 100 000 permits each, Germany (133 900, or 18%), Italy (109 300, or 15%) and Spain (102 500, or 14%) were the three Member States with the highest number of permits issued for family reasons in 2015. They were closely followed by France (92 500, or 12%) and the United Kingdom (89 900, or 12%).
Family reasons prevail across Member States
In fifteen Member States, the largest numbers of permits were issued for family reasons, with the highest shares observed in Germany (68.7% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Italy (61.1%), Luxembourg (57.1%), Croatia (53.9%), Spain (53.1%), Belgium (52.3%) and Greece (51.2%). Education was the main reason in Ireland (57.4% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Romania (38.7%), the United Kingdom (36.2%) and Hungary (28.3%). In six Member States, the main reason for issuing residence permits was employment, the highest shares being recorded in Poland (69.3% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Lithuania (53.9%), Slovenia (47.5%) and Cyprus (47.1%).
Almost a third of residence permits granted to citizens of Ukraine and the United States
In 2015, citizens of Ukraine (500 000 beneficiaries, or 19.2% of the total number of first residence permits issued in the EU) continued to receive the highest number of permits, ahead of citizens of the United States (261 800, or 10.0%), China (167 100, or 6.4%), India (135 500, or 5.2%), Syria (104 100, or 4.0%) and Morocco (96 100, or 3.7%). Around half of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2015 were issued to citizens of these six countries.
Ukrainians received permits mainly in Poland, US and Chinese citizens in the United Kingdom
Certain citizenships were granted residence permits predominantly by particular Member States. Of the half million Ukrainians granted residence permits in the EU in 2015, 86% were recorded in Poland (430 100). Of the 261 800 US citizens granted residence permits, more than three-quarters (77%) were registered in the United Kingdom, as were almost half (48%) of the 167 100 Chinese.