Eurostat: 69 833 non-EU nationals with residence permits in Bulgaria in 2020

There were 69 833 holders of residence permits in Bulgaria as at December 31 2020, according to European Union statistics agency Eurostat.

This was the latest year to see an increase in residence permits holders in Bulgaria, going by Eurostat’s figures.

In 2011, there were 14 158, rising to 53 132 in 2018 and 64 902 in 2019.

Eurostat said that in 2020, there was a dip across almost all of the EU in the number of first residence permits issued, mainly because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the related travel and administrative restrictions imposed by national authorities.

As Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute (NSI) reported in July, in 2020 Bulgaria issued a total of 10 267 first residence permits.

That figure for first residence permits was down from 11 864 in 2018 and 13 500 in 2019.

Of the first residence permits issued by Bulgaria in 2020, the largest number were to citizens of Turkey, 3927.

A total of 1548 were issued to citizens of Russia, 1340 to Ukrainians, 384 to citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, 331 to Serbians, 311 to Moldovans, 195 to citizens of Israel, 160 to US citizens and 136 to citizens of Belarus, with various other countries accounting for the rest.

Eurostat said that in 2020, about 2.2 million first residence permits were issued in the EU to non-EU citizens. The number decreased by 24 per cent (or -706 000) compared with 2019, the first dip seen in the upward trend observed between 2013 and 2020.

In 2020, 38 per cent fewer (-153 000) residence permits were issued for education-related reasons when compared with 2019. There was also a 25 per cent drop in residence permits for employment-related reasons (-294 000), a 23 per cent drop for family reasons (-189 000) and a 13 per cent drop for other reasons, including international protection (-72 000). 

Employment-related reasons were the main reasons why people obtained a residence permit in the EU in 2020, accounting for 40 per cent of all first residence permits issued. Family reasons accounted for 28 per cent, education reasons for 11 per cent, while other reasons, including international protection, accounted for 21 per cent.

The only increase in the total number of permits issued in 2020 when compared with 2019 was recorded in Lithuania: five per cent (from 21 400 permits in 2019, to 22 500 permits in 2020). 

On the other hand, the largest decrease in the total number of permits issued in 2020 when compared with 2019 was recorded in Czech Republic: 54 per cent (from 117 000 permits in 2019, to 54 300 permits in 2020), followed by Greece (53 per cent, 42 300 to 19 800) and Malta (48 per cent, from 21 200 to 11 100), Eurostat said.

(Photo: Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry)

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