Over 683,000 foreigners received their first residence permits in Poland in 2017, placing it at the top of Eurostat statistics, ahead of Germany (535,000 permits) and the United Kingdom (517,000 permits). The proportion of 18 permits granted per 1,000 population was considerably higher in Poland than in most European countries. In comparison, in Germany the ratio amounted to 6.5 and in the United Kingdom - to 7.8 permits per 1,000 citizens.
Poland welcomes more employees from Ukraine
Out of all residence permits that were issued in Poland, over 85 per cent were granted to citizens of Ukraine. The vast majority of applicants wanted to reside in Poland mostly for employment reasons - they constituted 87 per cent of all residence permits in Poland and accounted for almost 60 per cent in the European Union. In other European Union countries, foreign citizens were also granted permission to stay for family reasons (60 per cent in Italy, 50 per cent in Belgium) and educational reasons (nearly 58 per cent in Ireland and 35 per cent in the United Kingdom).
In Poland, there has been a major increase of employees from Ukraine over the last five years. On the basis of the annual statistics published by the Polish Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy, it can be observed that in 2017 nearly 200,000 work permits were received by expats from Ukraine – eight times more than in 2014. Seeking employment in Poland has become popular especially among young Ukrainians, mostly due to the country's close proximity, better financial opportunities and a similar language.
According to Eurostat, the number of first residence permits issued in the European Union to non-EU citizens has been steadily growing over the last few years and increased by 4 per cent, compared to 2016. The number of residence permits issued due to employment reasons increased by 18 per cent last year. Besides citizens of Ukraine, the highest number of beneficiaries came from Syria and China. In 2017, European Union issued the total number of over 3 million first residence permits to non-EU citizens.