Libyans, Russians and Filipinos get most residence permits in 2013

Over 2.3 million residence permits for non-EU nationals in 2013 • Main citizenship groups given residence permit in Malta were Libyans, Russians and Filipinos

In 2013, 2.36 million first residence permits were issued in the EU28 to non-EU citizens, up by 12.5% compared with 2012 but down by 7.0% compared with 2008.

The decrease recorded from 2008 is mainly due to the fall in the number of first permits issued for employment reasons, from 800,000 in 2008 to 500,000 in 201). In 2013, 28.5% of first residence permits were issued for family reasons, 19.7% for education, 22.7% for employment reasons and 29.1% for other reasons.

The data on residence permits in the EU28 are published in a report issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

In 2013, the highest number of residence permits was reported by the United Kingdom (724,200 residence permits issued, or 30.7% of total permits issued in the EU28), followed by Poland (273,900, or 11.6%), Italy (244,000, or 10.3%), France (212,100, or 9.0%), Germany (199,900, or 8.5%) and Spain (196,200, or 8.3%). Together, these six Member States accounted for almost 80% of all residence permits issued in the EU28 in 2013.

With around 108,000 permits each, Italy and Spain were the two Member States with the highest number of permits issued for family reasons in 2013. The United Kingdom (183,200) was by far the first destination for education related permits. The highest number of residence permits issued for employment reasons was observed in Poland (141,700).

In 18 Member States, the largest numbers of permits were issued for family reasons, with the highest shares observed in Croatia (64.9% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Greece (59.3%), Spain (54.8%), Belgium (52.4%) and Luxembourg (51.6%). Education was the main reason in Ireland (65.3% of all residence permits issued in the Member State) and Hungary (32.8%). In six Member States, the main reason for issuing residence permits was employment, the highest shares being recorded in Lithuania (61.3% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Cyprus (57.7%) and Poland (51.7%).

Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rates of first residence permits issued in 2013 were recorded in Malta (24.1 first permits issued per thousand inhabitants), Cyprus (13.3), the United Kingdom (11.3) and Sweden (10.3).

Rates below 1 permit per thousand inhabitants were observed in four Member States: Romania (0.6), Croatia and Slovakia (both 0.8) and Bulgaria (0.9). In 2013, 4.7 first residence permits were issued per thousand inhabitants in the EU28.

In 2013, citizens of Ukraine (236,700 beneficiaries, or 10.0% of the total number of new residence permits issued in the EU28) received the highest number of permits, ahead citizens of India (200,800, or 8.5%), of the United States (171,800, or 7.3%) and of China (165,600, or 7.0%). A third of all new residence permits issued in the EU28 in 2013 was issued to citizens of these four countries.

Ukrainians for employment, Chinese for education and Moroccans for family reasons

The reasons for residence permits being issued differ between citizenships. Among the top 10 citizenships granted permits in the EU28 in 2013, Ukrainians benefited from residence permits mainly for employment reasons (64.1% of the first residence permits issued to Ukrainians in 2013), Chinese (59.9%) and Brazilians (43.5%) for education reasons, Moroccans (65.5%), Turks (48.7%) and Russians (32.7%) for family reasons.

Certain citizenships were granted residence permits predominantly by particular Member States. Of the 236 700 Ukrainians granted residence permits in the EU28 in 2013, more than 70% were recorded in Poland (171,800). Of the 200 800 Indians granted residence permits, almost 70% were registered in the United Kingdom, and for Americans (171,800) more than 60% were registered in the United Kingdom (105,700).


First residence permit means a residence permit issued to a person for the first time. A residence permit is considered as a first permit also if the time gap between the expiry of the previous permit and the start of validity of the new permit is at least 6 months.

Residence permit means any authorisation valid for at least 3 months issued by the authorities of a Member State allowing a non-EU citizen to stay legally on its territory. When national laws and administrative practices of a Member State allow for specific categories of long-term visa or immigration status to be granted instead of residence permits, such visas and grants of statuses are also included in these statistics.

Statistics on first residence permits presented in this report refer to non-EU citizens only and include persons subject to an authorisation to stay with a validity of at least 3 months and consequently these statistics are different than statistics on migration to the reporting countries (according to migration statistics migrant is a person who stays or intends to stay in the country for at least 12 months).

Other reasons include permits issued for residence only (e.g. pensioners with sufficient financial means), international protection status (including refugee status and subsidiary protection), humanitarian reasons, permits issued to non-asylum related unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking in human beings and other reasons not specified (e.g. beneficiaries of national regularisation programmes, diplomats).