First residence permits in Europe issued to non-EU nationals

Eurostat published data on first residence permits issued to non-EU nationals. A residence permit represents an authorization issued by the competent authorities of a country allowing third-country national (non-EU citizens) to stay legally on its territory.

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Data on residence permits are collected by reasons for issuing such permit. The main such reasons are: education, family, employment and other reasons (including stay without right to work, international protection, etc.). 

  • In 2013, EU Member States issued around 2.36 million first residence permits to third country nationals. This represents an increase of 12 % permits compared to the previous year (around 260 thousand more permits).The United Kingdom  issued the highest number of first permits in the EU in 2013 with 724 thousand, followed by Poland with 274 thousand, Italy with 244 thousand, France with 212 thousand, Germany with 200 thousand and Spain with 196 thousand.
  • The highest number of first permits was observed for other reasons with 685 thousand, followed by family related reasons with 673 thousand of permits; 535 thousand of permits were issued for employment reasons while less than a half a million permits were issued for education reasons.

Residence Permits by reason:

  • Poland is the member state with the highest number of permits issued for employment reasons, followed by the United Kingdom (109 thousand) and Italy (81 thousand).
  • The highest number of permits for family reasons (i.e. family reunification and formation) was issued in Italy and Spain with 108 thousand each, followed by the United Kingdom (95 thousand) and France (91 thousand). Family reason was the main reason for issuing residence permits in more than half of the EU Member States (19 out of 28)
  • As in the previous years, the United Kingdom is by far the most popular destination in the EU for the students from third countries. In 2013 about 183 thousand of education related permits were issued in this country, what represents nearly 40 % of all first permits issued for education reasons in the EU.

Residence Permits by citizenship:

  • The highest number of first residence permits in the EU was issued to the citizens of the Ukraine (237 thousand), followed by Indians (201 thousand), United States (172 thousand), Chinese (166 thousand), Philippines (108 thousand) and Moroccans (102 thousand).
  • The distribution of citizenships granted first permit may also vary depending on the reason considered. Moroccans represent the largest group granted permit for family reasons (67 thousand), followed by Indians (43 thousand) and Chinese (34 thousand). On the other hand Chinese (99 thousand), the United States citizens (42 thousand) and Brazil (24 thousand) are the largest groups receiving a permit for education purposes, while Ukrainians (152 thousand), Indians (53 thousand) and the United States citizens (39 thousand) are the top citizenships granted employment related permit.

More information can be found on the Eurostat website via this link


Publication Date: Wed 22 Oct 2014
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