Denmark increases Syrian residence permits

Syrians now receive more residence permits in Denmark than US citizens, although the number of the latter is also on the rise.

Denmark increases Syrian residence permits
The Danish Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen). Photo: Agustin Millan

Denmark issued 35,886 first-time residence permits to non-EU citizens in 2014, according to a new Eurostat report. This marked an increase of 4,575 from last year and has now put Denmark as the country that issues the tenth highest number of residence permits among the EU28.

The largest group of non-EU citizens to be granted residency in Denmark were Syrian citizens, with a total of 5,654, or 15.8 percent of all residence permits. The next largest group, falling from first place in 2013, were US citizens with 3,923 (10.9 percent), with Indian citizens coming in a close third with 3,351 (9.3 percent).

Twenty-nine percent of the residence permits issued in Denmark were for family reasons, very much in line with the EU average of 29.5 percent. Education reasons accounted for 22.6 percent of permits, higher than the EU average of 20.7 percent. Employment reasons came in at 30.5 percent, the highest percentage in Scandinavia countries and well above the EU average of 24.8 percent.

Denmark is still below the average in the category of 'other reasons', which includes asylum and humanitarian based permits. Although an increase of five percent compared to last year, the 18.1 percent was still significantly below the EU's 25 percent average.

Of the 28 EU’s 28 member states, the UK issued significantly fewer permits than last year but still maintained its number one spot, with 567,800 permits, followed by Poland (355,400) and Germany (237,627).

The EU's 2014 total number of first-time residence permits was 2.3 million, with the majority of beneficiaries coming from Ukraine, United States and China. That number was two percent lower than in 2013 and a nine percent drop compared to 2008.

According to Eurostat, the decrease recorded from 2008 is mainly due to a fall in the number of first permits issued for employment reasons (from 800,000 in 2008 to nearly 600,000 last year).