Britain has received 750,000 applications from EU citizens seeking to settle in the UK in the first four months of 2019, with Poles leading the way, official data showed Thursday.
The government’s scheme for offering an estimated 3.8 million EU nationals the right to live permanently in Britain after Brexit has been riddled with controversy.
Responding to a public outcry, Prime Minister Theresa May in January scrapped a £65 ($82, 74-euro) fee that would have been imposed had a so-called “no-deal Brexit” gone into effect.
The programme’s status has been weighed further by uncertainties over when — or even if — Britain pulls out of the EU.
The UK interior ministry said 103,0000 Polish citizens had applied for permanent residence in the first four months of the year.
Romanians filed 90,000 applications and Italians 71,000, the figures showed. Portugal and Spain rounded out the top five.
The scheme is being overseen by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is one of 11 declared candidates in the race to succeed May as government chief in July.