Residence permits granted by Maltese authorities were slashed almost by half in 2020, going down from 21,200 in 2019 to 11,100 last year.
This was the third largest drop in the European Union, with the largest decrease being recorded in Czech Republic, at 54% (from 117 000 permits in 2019, to 54 300 permits in 2020), followed by Greece at 53%.
In the year during which the coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions implemented as a consequence, took its toll even on migration and movement of persons, all EU countries except Lithuania registered a drop. The Baltic country recorded an increase of 5%. In 2020, about 2.2 million first residence permits were issued in the EU to non-EU citizens. The number decreased by 24% (or -706 000) compared with 2019, the first dip seen in the upward trend observed between 2013 and 2020. This information comes from data on first residence permits published by Eurostat.
In 2020, 38% fewer (-153 000) residence permits were issued for education-related reasons when compared with 2019. There was also a 25% drop in residence permits for employment-related reasons (-294 000), a 23% drop for family reasons (-189 000) and a 13% drop for other reasons, including international protection (-72 000).
Employment-related reasons were the main reasons why people obtained a residence permit in the EU in 2020, accounting for 40% of all first residence permits issued. Family reasons accounted for 28%, education reasons for 11%, while other reasons, including international protection, accounted for 21%.
Poland issued more than a quarter of all first residence permits granted in the EU to non-EU citizens (598 000, or 26% of total permits issued in the EU), followed by Germany (313 000, or 14%) and Spain (312 000, or 14%).
Poland also topped the list of employment-related first residence permits, with 502 300 permits issued in 2020, making up 22% of all first permits issued in the EU. France issued the most education-related permits (72 700 permits, or 3%). The EU countries with the highest number of permits issued for family reasons in 2020 were Germany (130 700, or 6%), Spain (119 500, or 5%) and France (80 200, or 4%).
601 200 Ukrainians received first residence permits in the EU countries in 2020, making them the largest citizenship group among all recipients. Poland issued 488 900 of those permits (81%). Citizens of Morocco (123 400 permits, of which 56% were issued in Spain) and India (79 270, of which 14% were issued in Germany) followed. Citizens of these countries accounted for over one-third (36%) of all first residence permits issued in 2020.
Among the top 10 citizenships granted permits in the EU in 2020, employment was the main reason for permits issued to Ukrainians (86% of all first residence permits) and Belarusians (60%). Family was the prevailing reason for permits granted to Moroccans (53%) and education for permits issued to Chinese (36%).
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Data via Eurostat