European Union Member States last year issued a record number of 2.6 million first residence permits, a report issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, shows.
Most of the first residence permits (28.9%) were issued for family reasons, followed by employment (27.2%), other reasons (23.8%) and education (20.2%).
In 2015, one out of four first residence permits was issued in the UK (633,000 residence permits issued, or 24.3% of total permits issued in the EU) and one in five in Poland (541, 600, or 20.8%).
They were followed by France (226, 600, or 8.7%), Germany (194, 800, or 7.5%), Spain (192,900, or 7.4%) and Italy (178, 900, or 6.9%).
With over 100, 000 permits each, Germany (133, 900, or 18%), Italy (109, 300, or 15%) and Spain (102, 500, or 14%) were the three Member States with the highest number of permits issued for family reasons in 2015.
They were closely followed by France (92, 500, or 12%) and the United Kingdom (89, 900, or 12%).
In fifteen Member States, the largest numbers of permits were issued for family reasons, with the highest shares observed in Germany (68.7% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Italy (61.1%), Luxembourg (57.1%), Croatia (53.9%), Spain (53.1%), Belgium (52.3%) and Greece (51.2%).
Education was the main reason in Ireland (57.4% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Romania (38.7%), the United Kingdom (36.2%) and Hungary (28.3%).
In six Member States, the main reason for issuing residence permits was employment, the highest shares being recorded in Poland (69.3% of all residence permits issued in the Member State), Lithuania (53.9%), Slovenia (47.5%) and Cyprus (47.1%).