With a total of 635,000 such permits, Poland outdistanced Germany, which issued 544,000, and Britain, which granted 451,000, according to the Eurostat agency.
France issued 265,000 first residence permits, Spain granted 260,000 and Italy handed out 239,000 in 2018, Poland’s PAP news agency has reported.
A total of 3.2 million first residence permits were issued to non-EU citizens throughout the 28-nation bloc in 2018, according to Eurostat.
Poland was the top EU destination for employment-related permits, the agency said.
Citizens of Ukraine received the largest number of first residence permits in the EU in 2018, at 527,000, almost 78 percent of them in Poland, Eurostat said.
A first residence permit is a residence permit issued to a person for the first time, according to the Eurostat's terminology.
“A residence permit is considered as a first permit also if the time gap between the expiry of the previous permit and the start of validity of the new permit is at least 6 months,” the agency explains.
Meanwhile, about 100,000 work permits were issued in Poland in the first four months of this year, up 46 percent compared to the same period in 2018, the country's labour ministry has said.
According to the Personnel Service job agency, Poland issued more than 35,000 work permits to citizens of Asian countries such as Nepal, India and Bangladesh in the first half of 2019.
Poland welcomed the largest number of temporary economic migrants in the world in 2017, the Rzeczpospolita daily reported last month, citing data released by the OECD.
Source: PAP, ec.europa.eu