In 2019, about 3.0 million first residence permits were issued in the EU to non-EU citizens. The number rose by 6% (or 163 000) compared with 2018, continuing the upward trend observed since 2013. The year-over-year increase in the total number of first residence permits was mainly driven by the increasing number of first permits issued for employment reasons (up by 214 000, or 22%).
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%.
Highest number of first residence permits relative to the population in Malta, Cyprus and Poland.
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.