The European statistics provider, EUROSTAT, revealed that the number of first residence permits issued by the authorities of EU countries to citizens from outside the European Union has decreased by 24 percent, representing 700,000 people, compared to the year before the pandemic. This decline is the lowest between 2013 and 2020, TheSchengen.com reports.
According to EUROSTAT, these numbers resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as travel restrictions and related administrative restrictions raised by governments for this nadir.
The data provider also reveals that nearly half of approved applications for an EU residence permit throughout 2020 were related to work and employment, which represents 40 percent of all permits issued.
Meanwhile, family reasons were the second reason with 28% of applications approved, followed by educational reasons with 11%. Of all residence permit applications, 21 percent were approved for international protection, which was hit hard by safety concerns in Afghanistan.
Moreover, the number of students who obtained residence permits for their studies decreased by 38 percent compared to 2019. A 25 percent decrease, representing 294,000 individuals, was also observed in residence permits issued to workers compared to last year. Approximately 189,000 applicants received a negative response to applications for residence permits made for family reasons. A sharp drop (13 per cent) was also detected in residence permits issued for international protection, representing 72,000 people.
However, the only country that saw an increase in permits issued in 2020 was observed in Lithuania, with an increase of 5 percent (from 21,400 permits in 2019 to 22,500 permits in 2020).
In contrast to Lithuania, the Czech Republic saw the largest drop in the total number of permits issued in 2020, with a 54 percent drop. In 2019, the figure was set at 117,000 permits, dropping to 54,300 in 2020. Greece also suffered a 53 percent drop in residence permits obtained, from 42,300 to 19,800, followed by Malta from 21,200 to 11,100, which It represents 48 percent. cent decline.
Poland issued the largest number of residence permits for work for 2020, with 502,300 permits, which is 22 percent of all first permits issued in the European Union. Furthermore, France issued the most education-related permits, accounting for 3 percent of all permits issued (72,700 permits).
Among the top ten nationalities granted permits in the EU in 2020, employment was the main reason for permits issued to Ukrainians (86 percent of all first residence permits) and Belarusians (60 percent). Family was the dominant reason for permits granted to Moroccans (53%) and education to Chinese (36%). Other reasons were prevalent for Venezuelans (78 percent) and Syrians (70 percent),” Eurostat press release.
Germany issued about six per cent of all residence visas for family reasons issued in the EU, i.e. 130,700, followed by Spain (119,500, or five per cent) and France (80,200, or four per cent). Germany was also the first country in the European Union to issue residence permits for other reasons, with 153,000 permits or seven per cent of all visas issued.
According to EUROSTAT, 601,200 Ukrainians received their first residence permits in EU countries in 2020, making them the largest citizenship group among all recipients. About 81 percent or 488,900 of visa permits issued to Ukrainians came from the Polish government.
Moroccans followed by issuing 123,400 permits, 56 percent of which were in Spain and 79,270 Indians, 14 percent of which were issued in Germany.