The UK is The 8th Easiest European Country to Migrate to, Based on Eurostat

| January 15, 2024
The UK is The 8th Easiest European Country to Migrate to, Based on Eurostat

The United Kingdom (UK) is not the most effortless European country to migrate to, but the country still ranked in the top 10.

The UK ranked 8th as the easiest country for non-European Union (EU) residents to acquire citizenship. This is according to the Canadian immigration agency CanadaCIS.

CanadaCIS researched the easiest and most challenging European countries for non-EU residents to gain citizenship.

The study analyzed Eurostat immigration data from 2009 to 2021, focusing on the success rates of non-EU resident applications.

Around three out of 50 (3.2%) residents were granted UK citizenship, based on 12-year Eurostat data from 2009 to 2021.

“As well as having some of the strongest passports, Europe has among the highest quality of life indicators, including high career prospects, living conditions, and healthcare,” said Bryan Brooks, an immigration expert from CanadaCIS, as quoted by Financial Express.

According to a separate study on global migration trends, the UK is the third most preferred country for immigration despite the higher cost of living.

The country attracts professionals from various fields, such as finance, healthcare, education, and technology.

The top 10 easiest, hardest European countries to migrate to

“Analysis reveals central Europe is the most challenging region to get citizenship, with northern and western Europe the easiest,” Brooks of CanadaCIS concluded.

Sweden, the happiest country in the world, took the top spot with the highest acceptance rates for citizenship among non-EU residents. Almost one in ten non-EU foreigners acquire citizenship in Sweden, more than double the EU average.

The top two to five are Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Iceland. These countries acquire more than one in 25 applicants.

Ireland and Romania occupy sixth and seventh place, respectively, while the UK ranked 8th. Belgium and Finland round up the top ten.

Most Northern European countries, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Finland, have among the highest citizenship rates. Denmark is the only Northern European country not included.

In Southern Europe, Portugal was the easiest. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom were the easiest Western states to immigrate to.

Poland and Croatia are top in Central Europe, with 4% and 3.9% rates, respectively.

When it comes to the most challenging European countries to immigrate to, Estonia has the lowest average percentage of residents who gain citizenship. Only one in 200 residents acquired citizenship in Estonia.

Latvia, Czechia, and Lithuania are the next three hardest countries to become citizens of. Less than one percent of non-EU residents have been granted citizenship in all three countries.

These nations ranked as the fifth through ninth hardest European countries to immigrate to: Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Germany. These countries grant citizenship to less than one in fifty non-EU residents.

Denmark finished in the top 10 most challenging countries outside Central Europe to get citizenship, with a 2% acquisition rate.

Significant changes to UK immigration policies

The UK will implement its plan to introduce more stringent immigration policies throughout 2024 to curb net migration and put less strain on its public services.

Skilled workers must meet the new minimum income threshold of £38,700 yearly. The amount is an increase of nearly 50 percent from £26,200.

Health and Care workers are exempted from this minimum income hike but will no longer be allowed to bring dependants into the country.

Moving forward, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) must also regulate all care firms that want to sponsor care workers.

Family visa applicants will also be subject to higher minimum income requirements. This will take effect in phases throughout 2024, with the total amount of £38,700 coming into effect by late 2025.

The UK’s Shortage Occupation List (SOL), now known as the Immigration Salary List (ISL), and the Graduate visa are both under review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

The SOL will lose its 20 percent discount, and the MAC will review which current SOL jobs should remain on the ISL in line with the new salary thresholds.

Except for international students on postgraduate courses and courses with government-funded scholarships, all other students cannot bring their family members to the UK starting January this year.

Rising net migration

According to official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK’s overall net migration from June 2022 to June 2023 is estimated at 672,000.

The UK has seen a remarkable 930% increase in the issuance of dependant visas since 2019. It reached a total of 152,980 by September 2023 compared to 14,839 in September 2019.

It also shows a significant rise in migration from non-EU countries, with India, Nigeria, and China topping the list of migrants.

Most UK migrants come for higher education (39%) or work in the health and social care sector (33%).