On November 27, 2020, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, has published its annual immigration report. About 3 million people managed to get their EU residence permit in one of the EU Member States in 2019, it has announced.

Eurostat reports that the number of first residence permits issued in 2019 was 5.8% higher than the previous 2018 year. It notes the high increase in working permits.

The highest numbers of first residence permits in 2019 were granted by Poland (724,000) permits, Germany (460,000), Spain (320,000), France (285,000), Italy (176,000), Czechia (117,000), and the Netherlands (102,000).

A total of 1.2 million or 40.5% of all permits were issued for employment-related purposes. 810,000 residents received their new status due to family reasons. There were also 400,000 first permits for education-related reasons.  546,000 permits were issued for other reasons.

In Poland — the top EU country of issued first permits — over half of the total number of permits have to do with employment. It is also the EU member with most working permits granted to third-country citizens.

When speaking of sexes, it should be mentioned that more than twice more men received a residence permit for employment reasons compared to women.

Germany remains the main destination country for family-related residence permits. 167,000 applicants wanted to join their families in 2019. Spain follows with 144,000 and Italy with 101,000, while France granted 98,000. These 4 countries amount to 63% of the total number of residence permits issued in 2019 for family reasons. Family has been the most common reason for people coming to reside in Italy and Belgium. More than half of all the permits were issued on this ground at their national level.

When it comes to study-related purposes, France is undoubtedly in the top of the list. In 2019 more than 90,000 first residence permits were granted by France for study, which stand for 22.6% of all study permits issued in the European Union state members. However, it worth mentioning that Ireland also uphold the position of EU most wanted education destination. Over half of the residence permits granted in Ireland in 2019 were for education purposes — 58.6%.

The difference between women and men receiving a residence permit for education was almost non-distinctive, with 7% and 6.9% accordingly.

The largest national group to receive EU residence permits in 2019 was Ukrainians — 25.6%. It is over a quarter of the total first permits granted. 79.2% of all Ukrainians received a first residence permit in Poland. At the same time, almost 87% or 660,000 of all Ukrainians who received a residence permit in the EUin 2019 obtained it for employment-related reasons.

Next come citizens of Morocco with 133,000 permits, India – 131,000, China (including Hong Kong) – 110,000 and Brazil – 101,000. Less than 100 000 permits issued were accounted for citizens from Syria, Russia, Turkey, the United States and Belarus.

Poland was also the main destination for Belarusian citizens. 77.2% of all new EU residents from Belarus in 2019 falls on Polish permits.

The COVID-2019 essentially made adjustments to the EU residence application process in 2020, but with vaccine on the way the immigration number are likely to be restored close to their previous numbers.