Residence permits in the EU : statistics and motivation

Every year, the immigration lawyers of the Visalex network handle a large number of applications for residence permits for their non-European clients. These clients fall into three main categories with regard to the motivation of their immigration project:

- Professional motivation

- Family motivation

- Economic and Financial Motivation


In 2018, Poland with 328 000 permits was by far the leading destination in the EU-28 for those seeking to obtain a residence permit for employment-related reasons.

The next most common destination was the United Kingdom (108 000 permits issued for employment-related reasons), followed by Germany (68 000) and Spain (58 000).

First residence permits issued for employment-related reasons represented more than half of the total number of permits issued in Croatia (90.3%), Lithuania (77.5 %), Slovenia (71.0 %), Slovakia (66.5 %), Malta (59.3 %), Hungary (56.6%) and Poland (51.6 %), while employment-related reasons also accounted for the highest shares of the total number of permits issued in Czechia, Cyprus, Latvia, Romania, Estonia and Denmark

Germany (191 000), Spain (134 000), Italy (122 000), the United Kingdom (101 000) and France (97 000) were the EU Member States with the highest number of first residence permits issued in 2018 for family-related reasons.

These five countries accounted for 70% of all residence permits issued in the EU-28.


Family-related reasons were the most common reasons for issuing residence permits in 10 of the Member States and in three of these — Belgium, Spain and Italy — family-related reasons accounted for more than half of all the permits issued at national level.

In 2018, citizens of Ukraine (527 000 beneficiaries, or 16.3 % of the total number of first residence permits issued in the EU-28) received the highest number of first residence permits, ahead of citizens of China (206 000, or 6.4 %), India (197 000, or 6.1 %), Syria (174 000, or 5.4 %), Belarus (138 000, or 4.3 %), Morocco (127 000, or 3.9 %) and the United States (120 000, or 3.7 %). Citizens from Brazil, Turkey and Russia, all three below 100 000, followed.

Above half (54 %) of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2018 were issued to citizens of these ten countries.

Whatever the motivation of your immigration project in Europe (family, professional) the network of European lawyers, allows you to simplify the delicate step of the choice of your immigration lawyer, in your country of destination.

Indeed, it is particularly difficult to know the true level of specialization of the lawyer, as well as the length of his professional experience in the field concerned, but it is nevertheless an existential issue, and the reality is that one is rarely allowed to make mistakes in the conduct of one's immigration process.

The partner lawyers of the network are all members of an informal structure created by immigration lawyers for immigration lawyers. Their purpose and professional principles are very different from those of immigration consultants. It is worth recalling that European lawyers are governed by strict ethical rules and that they are liable to incur professional liability in the event of any breach or misconduct.

Their primary motivation is to put at the service of their clients all their knowledge of the applicable regulations, as well as their mastery of administrative practice.

For those who wish to benefit from a restricted panel of experienced and trusted lawyers in immigration law, for each member state of the European Union, the Visalex solution is particularly reassuring.

Contact :

Visalex Europe / Free Assessment Center

00 33 / 1 78 76 75 15

Our expertise

Schengen visa

We secure and monitor your Schengen visa or ETIAS visa waiver application.

Residence permit

We obtain your resident permit in the EU state of your choice, for over 3 months stay.


We assist and advise you to apply for the citizenship of a european country.

Business immigration

We optimize your professional / business entrance on the EU market: Investors, managers...

Judicial Litigation

Applicaton denied, airport assisance, travel ban in the Schengen Information System.

Cross border cases

Local support in the EU for the execution of a foreign judicial decision, Exequatur...