Bulgaria granted 6436 residence permits in 2013, more than 45 per cent of these to Russians, according to figures released by European Union statistics office Eurostat on October 22 2014.
Second on the list were citizens of Turkey, with 1044 residence permits or 16.2 per cent, and third, Ukrainians, with 476 residence permits granted, 7.4 per cent.
Of the residence permits granted by Bulgaria in 2013, 2242 (34.8 per cent) were for what are officially termed family reasons – which usually means the applicant is married to a Bulgarian citizen – while 935 (14.5 per cent) were for education and 334 (5.2 per cent) for employment, Eurostat said.
The remaining 2925 residence permits were granted for “other” reasons, not detailed in the Eurostat list.
Eurostat said that overall in 2013, 2.36 million first residence permits were issued in the 28 countries of the EU to non-EU citizens, up by 12.5 per cent compared with 2012 but seven per cent less than in 2008.
The decrease recorded from 2008 is mainly due to the fall in the number of first permits issued for employment reasons (from 0.8 million in 2008 to 0.5 million in 2013).
In 2013, 28.5 per cent of first residence permits were issued for family reasons, 19.7 per cent for education, 22.7 per cent for employment reasons and 29.1 per cent for other reasons.
In 2013, the highest number of residence permits was reported by the United Kingdom (724 200 residence permits issued, or 30.7 per cent of total permits issued in the EU28), followed by Poland (273 900, or 11.6 per cent), Italy (244 000, or 10.3 per cent), France (212 100, or nine per cent), Germany (199 900, or 8.5 per cent) and Spain (196 200, or 8.3 per cent).
Together, these six EU countries accounted for almost 80 per cent of all residence permits issued in the EU28 in 2013.
With about 108 000 permits each, Italy and Spain were the two EU member states with the highest number of permits issued for family reasons in 2013.
The United Kingdom (183 200) was by far the first destination for education related permits. The highest number of residence permits issued for employment reasons was observed in Poland (141 700).
In 18 EU member states, the largest numbers of permits were issued for family reasons, with the highest shares observed in Croatia (64.9 per cent of all residence permits issued in the member state), Greece (59.3 per cent), Spain (54.8 per cent), Belgium (52.4 per cent) and Luxembourg (51.6 per cent).
Education was the main reason in Ireland (65.3 per cent of all residence permits issued in the member state) and Hungary (32.8 per cent).
In six EU countries, the main reason for issuing residence permits was employment, the highest shares being recorded in Lithuania (61.3 per cent of all residence permits issued in the member state), Cyprus (57.7 per cent) and Poland (51.7 per cent).
Compared with the population of each member state, the highest rates of first residence permits issued in 2013 were recorded in Malta (24.1 first permits issued per thousand inhabitants), Cyprus (13.3), the United Kingdom (11.3) and Sweden (10.3).
Rates below one permit per thousand inhabitants were observed in four EU countries: Romania (0.6), Croatia and Slovakia (both 0.8) and Bulgaria (0.9).
In 2013, 4.7 first residence permits were issued per thousand inhabitants in the EU28.
In 2013, citizens of Ukraine (236 700 beneficiaries, or 10.0 per cent of the total number of new residence permits issued in the EU28) received the highest number of permits, ahead citizens of India (200 800, or 8.5 per cent), of the United States (171 800, or 7.3 per cent) and of China (165 600, or 7.0 per cent). A third of all new residence permits issued in the EU28 in 2013 was issued to citizens of these four countries.
The reasons for residence permits being issued differ between citizenships.
Among the top 10 citizenships granted permits in the EU28 in 2013, Ukrainians benefited from residence permits mainly for employment reasons (64.1 per cent of the first residence permits issued to Ukrainians in 2013), Chinese (59.9 per cent) and Brazilians (43.5 per cent) for education reasons, Moroccans (65.5 per cent), Turks (48.7 per cent) and Russians (32.7 per cent) for family reasons.
Certain citizenships were granted residence permits predominantly by particular member states.
Of the 236 700 Ukrainians granted residence permits in the EU28 in 2013, more than 70 per cent were recorded in Poland (171 800).
Of the 200 800 Indians granted residence permits, almost 70 per cent were registered in the United Kingdom, and for citizens of the United States (171 800) more than 60 per cent were registered in the United Kingdom (105 700).