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28 February 2006 -- Figures released by the British government show that 345,410 Central Europeans and citizens of the Baltic states have gone to Britain to find work since the expansion of the European Union in May 2004.
The Home Office said Poles made up 59 percent of the total applicants registered under a work scheme specially set up by the British government. Poles were followed by Lithuanians (13 percent) and Slovaks (11 percent).
The Home Office says the number of applications has begun to fall this year.
Eight ex-communist European states joined the EU in 2004, along with Cyprus and Malta. Of the 15 "old" EU countries, only Britain, Sweden, and Ireland have lifted restrictions on workers from the new member-states. Finland has recently said it will take similar steps this spring.
To view RFE/RL's archive of coverage related to EU expansion, click here .