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EUROPEAN UNION

IN NUMBERS: How many non-EU citizens live in European Union countries?

What percentage of the European Union's population are non-EU residents and which countries have the highest numbers of residents from outside the EU? New figures reveal all.

IN NUMBERS: How many non-EU citizens live in European Union countries?
European Union flags are seen outside the European Council's building in Brussels on March 17, 2022. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

In 2021, 23.7 million non-EU citizens were living in EU countries, making up 5.3 percent of the total EU population, according to the European statistical office Eurostat.

This number now includes about a million UK citizens, which is no longer an EU member. In comparison, some 13.7 million EU citizens live in an EU state other than their own.

In relation to the national population, citizens from countries that are not part of the EU represent the majority of non-nationals in most EU states.

Eurostat reports that “in absolute terms, the largest numbers of non-nationals living in the EU Member States were found in Germany (10.6 million people), Spain (5.4 million), France and Italy (both 5.2 million). Non-nationals in these four Member States collectively represented 70.3 percent of the total number of non-nationals living in all EU Member States.”  

Only in Luxembourg, Cyprus, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovakia the majority of non-nationals are other EU citizens. In Luxembourg, 47 percent of the population is made of non-nationals)

How many non-EU nationals live in the EU? Source: Eurostat

In relative terms, the EU member states with the highest share of non-EU residents were Estonia (14%), Latvia (13%), Malta (12%), Luxembourg (9%), Austria, Cyprus and Spain (8%), Germany, Greece, Slovenia and Sweden (7%), France, Ireland, Italy and Sweden (6%).

In Switzerland the proportion is 9 percent and in Norway 4 percent, but in both these non-EU states, the majority of foreign residents are EU citizens (16% and 7% of the total population respectively).

Based on data provided by Eurostat, the most common non-EU nationalities in the countries covered by The Local are:

Austria: Serbia (1.4%)

Denmark: Syria (0.6%)

France: Algeria and Morocco (0.9%)

Germany: Turkey (1.6%)

Italy: Albania and Morocco (0.7%)

Norway: Syria (0.6%)

Spain: Morocco (1.6%)

Sweden: Syria (0.9%)

Switzerland: Turkey and North Macedonia (0.8%)

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IMMIGRATION

Why your Norwegian family immigration application may be rejected, and how to avoid it 

Applications for family residence permits in Norway can be long and arduous. These are the most common reasons why they are turned down and what you can do to avoid it. 

Why your Norwegian family immigration application may be rejected, and how to avoid it 

Last year, more than 15,000 people moved to Norway for family reasons. Of those, more than 4,000 were EEA citizens who registered with the police, while 10,197 permits for family immigration were granted. 

Residence permits for family reasons are generally issued to those from countries outside the European Economic Area or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), while those moving to Norway to be with family are required to register with the police as living in Norway.

Family immigration permits are issued based on the applicant’s relative being a Nordic citizen or having legal residence or asylum in Norway. The applicants are usually the partner or spouse, child or parent, sibling, or in some cases, another relative of someone living in Norway.

READ ALSO: How many people move to Norway for family reasons, and where do they come from?

However, not all applications for a residence permit are accepted, and as an application fee is involved, it would be handy to know the most common reasons why applicants aren’t granted residence to be with a family member, partner or spouse. 

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has provided The Local with the most common reasons it turns down applications. 

Age requirements for the spouse or partner not being met

To move to Norway to be with a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or fiancé, several requirements will need to be met. 

Generally, the reference person (the one living in Norway) will need to earn above a certain amount of money, plan on living together, and the relationship should be genuine. If you are not married or engaged, you will need to have lived together for at least two years. 

READ MORE: What are the rules for moving to Norway to be with a partner? 

In addition, the applicant and reference partner will need to be over 24 years old when applying. This applies regardless of whether you are married, engaged or live together. 

According to the UDI, the age requirements for spouses not being met is one of the most common reasons why applications for family immigration permits are turned down. 

Children do not meet the full criteria

As with all applications for residence in Norway, all the criteria outlined by the UDI must be met to be granted a permit. 

Children not meeting all the criteria needed to be with parents was also one of the more common stumbling blocks, according to the UDI. 

Applications for children to be with parents in Norway can be tricky, and a number of factors can affect the requirements. 

Typically, the child will need to undergo an identity check, and both parents must consent to the move if custody is shared, the reference person must be a Norwegian citizen or hold a valid residence permit. In addition, the parent must earn at least 300,988 kroner per year before taxes. The income from the year before must also meet this threshold. 

Parents must have also not received any help from NAV in the past 12 months either. 

If you do not meet these requirements, your application will be turned down. To read more about the criteria, you can click here.

Maintenance requirements for family members aren’t met 

Being a relative of someone living or working in Norway typically isn’t a sufficient enough reason to have a work permit application approved. A number of other requirements will need to be met, and the rules for those over 18 applying to live with relatives are much tighter than those moving to be with a relative under 18. 

Additionally, applications for relatives that aren’t the parent or child of the reference person are likely to be rejected. 

For those wishing to move to Norway to be with their family members, one of the most common issues is the maintenance or minimum income requirements being met. 

As with other residence applications, the reference person will need to earn 300,988 kroner per year before taxes. This threshold applies to all family applications. 

READ ALSO: What are the rules for moving to Norway to be with family?

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