First residence permits reached pre-pandemic levels

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In 2021, almost 3 million (2 952 300) first residence permits were issued in the EU to non-EU citizens

The number increased by 31% (or +693 700) compared with 2020, reaching the pre-pandemic level observed in 2019 (2 955 300).

Employment reasons accounted for 45% of all first residence permits issued in 2021, with 1.3 million permits. This represents an increase of 47% (+429 100) compared with 2020. It is also the highest number of permits issued for employment reasons since the beginning of the time series.

Family reasons accounted for 24%, education reasons for 12%, while other reasons, including international protection, accounted for 19%.

Poland topped the list of employment-related first residence permits, with 790 100 permits issued in 2021, making up 27% of all first permits issued in the EU. France issued the most education-related permits (90 600 permits, or 3%).

Among the top 10 citizenships granted permits in the EU in 2021, employment was the main reason for permits issued to Ukrainians (88% of all first residence permits), Belarusians (47%), Indians (41%) and Russians (35%). Family was the prevailing reason for permits granted to Moroccans (59%), Brazilians (41%) and Turks (33%) and permits for education were primarily issued to Chinese (43%) and Americans (32%). Other reasons were predominant for Syrians (74%).

You can find more details clicking the links below:

First residence permits reached pre-pandemic levels - Products Eurostat News - Eurostat (
Residence permits - statistics on first permits issued during the year - Statistics Explained (
Interactive infographic on first residence permits issued in 2021

Source: Eurostat