Figures between 2015 and the end of 2016 show a considerable rise in the number of foreigners granted residence permits. Quoting figures from the migration authority, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that 589,473 foreign nationals have been granted permits since 2005. In 2005, only 178,964 had residence permits and it rose to 461,217 by the end of 2016. The authorities also approved 128,256 applications in the first 11 months of this year.
Istanbul, the country's most populated city and apparently the most popular among migrants both from other Turkish cities and from around the world, had the highest number of residence permit holders at 290,509. It was followed by the capital Ankara. Antalya, a Mediterranean city and a popular destination among tourists, came third in the list of cities with the most residence permit holders. Tunceli, a small province in the east, has had only 32 foreigners with residence permits in the past 13 years.
As for the nationalities of residence permit holders, Iraqis came first at 55,983. They were followed by 48,738 Syrians. Syrians, on the other hand, dominate the number of refugees in Turkey. The country hosts more than 3 million Syrian refugees displaced by the ongoing conflict, the largest number of Syrians abroad. Azerbaijani nationals came third with 39,184 residence permits. They were followed by Turkmenistan and Russian citizens.
Turkey provides six types of residence permits: Short-term, family, student, long-term, humanitarian, and a residence permit for victims of human trafficking.