Poland issues more residence permits to non-EU citizens than any other country in the European Union, according to data published by Eurostat on Thursday.
According to the data, Poland issued over 683,000 residence permits to immigrants in 2017, which accounted for more than one-fifth of all residence permits issued to immigrants within the EU. Germany (535,446 residence permits) came in second place, followed by the United Kingdom (517,000), and France (250,175).
Poland came in third place when it came to residence permits issued per capita, with 18 permits issued per 1,000 residents. Ahead of Poland were Malta (23.4) and Cyprus (22.1). The key difference, however, is that Malta and Cyprus lie on the main routes of immigration into Europe from North Africa and the Middle East, while Poland does not.
The make-up of immigration to Poland, however, was much different than to other EU member states.
The decided majority of immigrants to Poland came from Ukraine in 2017 – 585,439 Ukrainians immigrated to Poland, accounting for 85.7% of all immigrants. In distant second place were immigrants from Belarus (42,756) and in third place were immigrants from Moldova (7,803). All three of these countries are European Christian countries with close cultural and historical ties to Poland: they were all once part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for hundreds of years.
The ethnic make-up of immigration to other European Union member states was radically different. Throughout all of the EU, half of all residency permits were granted to citizens of these seven countries: Ukraine (88% of which went to Poland), Syria (almost two-thirds of which went to Germany), China (almost half in the UK), India (44% in the UK), the United States (over half in the UK), Morocco (41% in Spain), and Afghanistan (61% in Germany).
Immigration to Poland also differed based on the reason why the immigrants were allowed to stay in Poland. Over 87% of residence permits issued in Poland were issued for employment purposes – constituting 59% of all residence permits issued for employment purposes in the European Union. By contrast, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom were the four EU member states with the highest number of residence permits issued for family reasons in 2017.