BRUSSELS, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- About 26,000 South Koreans received first residence permits to stay for three months or longer in European Union countries last year -- the highest number in 10 years -- the EU's statistics agency said on Tuesday.

Eurostat said in a report the number of South Koreans who obtained such stay permits for the first time increased 124 from a year ago to 25,767 in 2017.

At 6,951, Britain issued the most permits, while Germany issued 5,356 and France 2,935. The three countries accounted for 59.2 percent of the total.

By purpose of stay, 4,473 were for family reasons, 14,071 for education, 4,901 for employment and 2,322 for other reasons.

Source: Yonhap News Agency