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Residence permits statistics

From Statistics Explained

Data from June 2012, most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

This article presents European Union (EU) statistics on first residence permits issued to third-country nationals. Data are based on the regulatory framework of the Article 6 of the Regulation 862/2007 on migration and international protection statistics.

Residence permit represents an authorization issued by the competent authorities of a country allowing third-country national to stay legally on its territory. 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.). Among the main categories of reasons specific categories of reasons are distinguished (e.g. students, researchers, highly-skilled workers etc.). National administrative registers and databases are the main sources for these statistics.

The evolution of residence permits at country level reflects the migration's systems diversity and the influence of European immigration policy. Other factors such as: characteristics of third-country nationals, legal framework and characteristics of countries involved in the immigration process like the geographical proximity or language ties can be also important.

Figure 1: New residence permits issued in the EU-27 by reasons, 2008, 2009 and 2010 - Source: Eurostat (migr_resfirst)

Main statistical findings

Table 1: Total number of new residence permits issued by reason, in 2010 - Source: Eurostat (migr_resfirst)
Table 2: Main groups of citizenship granted a new residence permit in the EU-27 and main EU Member States issuing the permit, in 2010 - Source: Eurostat (migr_resfirst)
Figure 2: Main groups of citizenship granted a new residence permit in the EU-27, distribution by reason, 2010 - Source: Eurostat (migr_resfirst)
Table 3: Main citizenships of persons granted new residence permits, in 2010 - Source: Eurostat (migr_resfirst)
Figure 3: Last three years evolution of main groups of citizenship granted a new residence permit in the EU-27 and Norway in 2010 - Source: Eurostat (migr_resfirst)
Table 4: Main groups of citizenship granted a new residence permit in the EU-27 and main EU Member States issuing the permit, by reason, in 2010 - Source: Eurostat (migr_resfirst)

In 2010, EU Member States issued around 2.5 million new residence permits to third country nationals. This represents an increase of 5.6 % permits compared to the previous year (around 135 thousand more permits). Although the number of new residence permits issued at the EU level in 2010 remained relatively stable, some considerable developments were observed at the country level.

The United Kingdom and Italy issued the highest number of new permits in the EU in 2010 with 732 thousand and 590 thousand respectively. These two countries represented more than 50 % of all new permits issued in the EU to non-EU nationals.

As in the previous years, the highest number of new permits in EU was granted for employment and family related reasons (about 0.8 million each) (see Figure 1) with a share of approximately 30 % of all new permits. Around half a million permits were issued for education reasons, while around 400 thousand permits were issued for other reasons (see Table 1). Compared to 2009, the number of new permits issued for employment and family reasons increased by 152 thousand and 91 thousand respectively. The number of new permits issued for education reasons increased slightly by 6 thousand, while the number of permits issued for other reasons decreased by 116 thousand (see Figure 1).

Residence permits by reason

With around 360 thousand permits, Italy is by far the Member State with the highest number of permits issued for employment reasons, followed by the United Kingdom (120 thousand) and Poland (87 thousand). Likewise in Italy and Poland in some other countries permits issued for employment reasons represented the largest share of all permits issued: Denmark, Cyprus, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia (see Table 1).

The highest number of permits for family reasons (i.e. family reunification and formation) was issued on Italy (180 thousand), Spain (132 thousand) the United Kingdom (125 thousand) and France (86 thousand). Family reason was the main reason for issuing residence permits in more than half (14 out of 26) of the Member States for which data are available. In particular, in Spain they accounted for more than 50 % of all new permits issued (see Table 1).

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 2010 about 270 thousand of education related permits were issued in this country, what represents nearly 55 % of all new permits issued for education reasons in the EU. Education permits represent also the main reason of issued permissions to stay in this country (37 %) (see Table 1).

Table 1 also shows the number of new permits issued for other reasons, such as international protection, residence without the right to work (e.g. for pensioners), diplomatic duties, and people in the intermediate stages of a regularisation process. A cross-country comparison based on this miscellaneous category is hampered by the differences that exist in the national administrative and legislative systems. In Malta this category of permits accounted for more than 60 % of total permits issued, while in countries like Slovenia, Poland and Italy, this share was considerably lower (below 5 %).

Residence permits by citizenship

The largest number of new residence permits in the EU was granted to the citizens of the United States (213 thousand), followed by Indians (201 thousand), Chinese (173 thousand), Ukrainians (167 thousand) and Moroccans (158 thousand). These five citizenships account for more than 50 % of all permits issued in the EU.

Various factors or even combinations of such factors influence the choice of the destination EU Member State for the third-country citizens. Among these factors are the language ties (e.g. the United States citizens in the United Kingdom), geographical proximity of the country of destination (Ukrainians in Poland), historical links (e.g. Algerians in France) and established migrant networks (e.g. Turkish citizens in Germany) (Table 3).

The distribution of citizenships granted new permit may also very depending on the reason considered. Moroccans represent the largest group granted permit for family reasons (88 thousand), followed by Indians (45 thousand) and Albanians (37 thousand). On the other hand Chinese (79 thousand), the United States citizens (59 thousand) and Indians (52 thousand) are the largest groups receiving a permit for education purposes, while Ukrainians (130 thousand) Indians (74 thousand), Moroccans (54 thousand) and Chinese (52 thousand) are the top citizenships granted employment related permit (Table 4).

For certain citizenships specific migration patterns meaning reasons for immigration can be observed. While family related reasons are predominant among Moroccans and Albanians granted residence permit in the EU, nearly 4 out of 5 Ukrainians are issued with employment related permit. For some citizenships the reasons for immigration to the EU are mixed. For Indians, Pakistanis and Chinese education and employment are the main reasons to reside in the EU (Figure 4).

The following of such immigration patterns may in addition depend on the destination EU Member State. For example, while most of the Chinese granted permission to reside in the United Kingdom were granted education related permit, large majority of those authorized to stay in Italy received permits for employment reasons. Similarly, while most of Turks permitted to stay in Germany were issued with family related permit, majority of Turks arriving to the United Kingdom arrived for education reasons.

Data sources and availability

The statistics used for this publication are provided to Eurostat by the national responsible authorities, mainly Ministries of Interior or Immigration Agencies of the EU Member States and EFTA countries. Data are based entirely on relevant administrative sources. These data are supplied by Member States as part of the annual Residence Permits Data Collection conducted by Eurostat according to the provisions of Article 6 of Regulation 862/2007 on statistics on migration and international protection

The evolution of residence permits statistics is linked to European immigration policy and is also influenced by different factors: characteristics of immigrants, private decisions, legal framework and characteristics of countries involved in the immigration process.

The main dimensions for residence permits data collection are: the reporting country, the citizenship of the permit holder, the reason for the permit being issued and the length of validity of the permits issued. Since 2010 reference year, on voluntary basis, permit data are also collected with age and sex breakdown. The dimensions may differ from one to other dataset and can be consulted on the "Database" sub-section from this article.

Some methodological aspects are not enough harmonized between the reporting countries due to the different legal or IT systems. Therefore, the data availability may differ between countries and the interpretation of the figures resulted should be done with the help of metadata file related to Residence Permits Statistics.

Due to the recent implementation of the Residence Permits Data Collection, some methodological and administrative differences exist between the Member States. Namely, data for DE relate only to permits issued for a first time ever; data for FR relate to permits which were issued after at least 12 months since the expiry of the previous permit. No data are available for Luxembourg, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
The UK has not established residence permits register. Statistics are provided by the Home Office and mainly based on passengers given leave to enter the UK in selected categories. For further details see: Home Office.

Resident permits statistics datasets can be considered as being formed from two main categories:

  1. Datasets related to residence permits granted during the reference year. Data published on this category contains information about first residence permits issued during the reference year and information about change of resident status of immigrants during the reference year;
  2. Datasets related to permits valid at the end of the reference year (stock of permits). Data published on this category contains information about number of valid permissions to stay at the end of reference year and long-term legal resident status at the end of the reference year.

A subset of resident permits data - statistics on EU Blue Cards, are now in process to be collected on the basis of the Article 20 of Directive 50/2009 - Conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment.

Context

Migration policies within the EU are built upon solidarity and responsibility, considering valuable contribution of immigrants to the EU’s economic development and performance. Within the European Commission, the Directorate-General for Home Affairs is responsible for immigration policy. The EU measures on legal immigration cover the conditions of entry and residence for certain categories of immigrants, such as highly qualified workers subject to the ‘EU Blue Card Directive’, students and researchers. Family reunification and long-term residents are also provided for[1].

Statistics on residence permits is collected on the basis of the Article 6 of the Migration Statistics Regulation:

The list of categories of reasons for issuing residence permit is provided by the Commission Regulation:

All relevant legal acts and information regarding the EU immigration policy can be accessed on DGHOME website.

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Database

International Migration and Asylum (migr)
Residence permits (migr_res)
First permits by reason, length of validity and citizenship - Annual data (migr_resfirst)
First permits issued for family reasons by reason, length of validity and citizenship - Annual data (migr_resfam)
First permits issued for education reasons by reason, length of validity and citizenship - Annual data (migr_resedu)
First permits issued for remunerated activities by reason, length of validity and citizenship - Annual data (migr_resocc)
First permits issued for other reasons by reason, length of validity and citizenship - Annual data (migr_resoth)
First permits by reason, age, sex and citizenship - Annual data (migr_resfas)

In addition to data on first residence permits issued during the reference year, Eurostat collects data on stock of all valid permits and permits issued on the occasion of changing immigration status or reasons to stay, see:

International Migration and Asylum (migr)
Residence permits (migr_res)
Change of immigration status permits by reason and citizenship - Annual data (migr_reschange)
All valid permits by reason, length of validity and citizenship on 31. December of each year - Annual data (migr_resvalid)
Long-term residents by citizenship on 31. December of each year - Annual data (migr_reslong)
All valid permits by age, sex and citizenship on 31. December of each year - Annual data (migr_resvas)
Long-term residents by age, sex and citizenship on 31. December of each year - Annual data (migr_reslas)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

External links

See also

Notes

  1. DGHOME - Towards a common European Union migration policy
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