Monday 10/25/21

Family, work and education, the main reasons to settle in Finland

Finnish authorities issued 25.141 first residence permits to non-EU citizens in 2017, about 4.6 permits per thousand population.

Family autumn

Family, work and education were the main reasons that led thousands of foreigners to settle in Finland in 2017. According to the latest numbers published by the European Statistical Office (Eurostat), during the last year the Finnish authorities issued Finland 25.141 first residence permits to non-EU citizens (this is about 4.6 permits per thousand population).

The evolution recorded by the figures in Finland differs from the EU total: while in aggregate terms employment is the main reason to establish in the whole EU (32.2% of the applicants adduced labour reasons), in Finland the main reason was family ties (8.762 or 34.9%), followed by work (6.221 or 24.7%), education (5.094 or 20.3%) and other reasons –this figure includes international protection- for 5.064 or 20.1%.

Eurostat highlights that in 2017 about 3.1 million first residence permits were issued in all the European Union (EU) member states to non-EU citizens. The number increased almost by 4% (or 112.000) compared with 2016.

Employment reasons accounted for 1.009.427, almost one-third (32.2%) of all the permits issued in the EU, family reasons for 829.922 (26.5%), education reasons for 525.994 (16.9%) and other reasons for 766 798 (24.5%). 

Compared to the previous year, Eurostat figures show that the increase of 4% in the total number of first residence permit in comparison with 2016 was mainly due to the raise of permits granted for employment reasons (up by 155.000 or 18%). Those linked to family ties increased by 49.000 or 6%, those related to education recorded an advance by 30.000 or 6%, whereas the number of first permits issued for other reasons decreased by 123.000 (-14%).

Poland, Germany and UK issued the highest number of permits

In 2017, one out of five first residence permits was issued in Poland (683.000, or 22% of total in the EU), followed by Germany (535.000, or 17%), the United Kingdom (517.000, or 16%), France (250.000, or 8%), Spain (231 000, or 7%), Italy (187.000, or 6%) and Sweden (130.000, or 4%).

Compared to the population of each Member State, the highest rates of first resident permits issued in 2017 were recorded in Malta (23 permits issued per thousand population), Cyprus (22), Poland (18), Sweden (13) and Luxembourg (12). For the EU as a whole in 2017, 6 first residence permits were issued per thousand population.

Employment reasons tend to prevail

In 2017, in eleven Member States, the largest numbers of permits were issued for employment reasons, with the highest shares observed in Poland (87% of all residence permits issued), Lithuania (74%), Croatia (72%) and Slovenia (62%). In ten Member States, the main reason for issuing residence permits was family related, with the highest shares being recorded in Italy (60% of all residence permits issued), Spain (54%) and Belgium (51%).

Education was the main reason in Ireland (58% of all residence permits issued), the United Kingdom (35%) and Romania (34%). Other reasons, including international protection, were predominant in four Member States: Austria (62% of all residence permits issued), Germany (52%), Bulgaria (39%) and the Netherlands (32%).

Half of the permits granted to seven citizenships

In 2017, about half of all first residence permits issued in the EU were granted to citizens of seven countries.

Citizens of Ukraine (662.000 beneficiaries, of which almost 88% in Poland) continued to receive the highest number of permits in the EU, ahead of citizens of Syria (223.000, of which almost two-thirds in Germany). Then comes China including Hong Kong (193.000, of which almost half in the United Kingdom), India (163.000, of which 44% in the United Kingdom), the United States (147.000, of which over half in the United Kingdom), Morocco (108.000, of which 41% in Spain) and Afghanistan (87.000, of which around 61% in Germany).