Record numbers of migrants with temporary permits and foreign residents in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
foreign residence permits

Spain is the second European country to grant the most residence permits to foreigners last year. Of all 27 EU countries, Spain granted no less than 13% of the total number of residence permits to foreigners. 

In 2021, more than 371,000 non-EU citizens received a residence permit in Spain. That is the second highest figure in the entire European Union, according to Eurostat statistics. Eurostat identifies Poland as the country that has issued the most residence permits to citizens from outside the European Union. In total, the country issued 967,300, no less than a third of the total number of the EU. France takes third place after Spain with 285,200 residence permits. 

Spain issues most permits to family members 

Poland also tops the ranking as the country that has issued the most work-related residence permits. Spain is in first place when it comes to residence permits that are issued to family members, for example for family reunification. With the number at 159,200, Spain leads this list within Europe. With this figure, Spain is ahead of Italy (120,500) and France (93,300). 

Who received a residence permit in Europe? 

For most people who received a residence permit in the European Union in 2021, work was the main reason. Most were issued within the EU to Ukrainians (88%), Belarusians (47%), Indians (41%) and Russians (35%). Residence permits for education in Europe were mainly issued to Chinese (43%) and Americans (32%). Residence permits to relatives were most often issued to Moroccans (59%), Brazilians (41%) and Turks (33%). 

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2021 records record numbers of migrants and foreign residents in Spain 

Last week, the Spanish government announced that temporary residence and work permits were granted to 866,790 migrants last year. That is again a record since the figures have been recorded since 2012. 

Earlier this year, the Spanish government announced that Spain had never before had so many foreign residents in its history. Over the past 5 years, the number of foreigners has increased by 19%, with 3.6% in 2021. 

Also read: Spain could not function without the millions of migrants

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