At the end of 2017, there were 20.3 million valid residence permits granted to non-EU citizens allowing them to reside legally in one of the European Union (EU) Member States. That is a million more than the previous year, when the number of residence permits granted by the 28 members of the club amounted to 19,332,312.
In Finland, there were just 105,007 persons holding a residence permit by the end of 2017, which is about 6,500 more than the 99,559 from the previous year.
The five largest European countries, Germany (23%), Italy (18%), France (14%), Spain (13%) and the United Kingdom (8%) accounted in 2017 for three quarters of all valid residence permits granted to non-EU citizens. Those were altogether 15,278,448 residence permits.
These figures are taken from the latest statistics on residence permits granted to citizens outside the European Union (EU) published by the European Statistical Office (Eurostat). According to those numbers, the stock of valid residence permits issued to non-EU citizens rose by 5% between the end of 2016 and the end of 2017.
The year-on-year comparison of developments registered in the EU in relation to the granting of residence permits also reveals that the majority of member states (21 out of 28) reported an increasing number of valid permits.
According to Eurostat, the highest rate of increase was recorded in Hungary, where the stock of permits granted to non-EU citizens more than doubled (113%), followed by Bulgaria (41%), Malta (25%) and Slovakia (21%).
Among the five Member States with the largest stocks of resident permits, Germany recorded the highest increase, as the number of valid permits rose by 14% between the end of 2016 and the end of 2017.
Increases were also recorded in France, Spain and the United Kingdom. In this group only Italy recorded a reduction in the stock of valid permits (-3%). Among all Member States there were five other countries reporting a decline: Estonia, Czechia, Latvia, Greece and Romania.
Almost two fifths (38%) of all valid residence permits at the end of 2017 were issued for family-related reasons, with lower shares for employment reasons (16%), refugee status and subsidiary protection (7%) or education reasons (6%).