Home Office statistics show that between January and March this year there were 45,000 applications from the eight countries that joined the EU in 2004. That is down 13% from the same period in the previous year of 52,000.
The number of Bulgarians and Romanians has also dropped to its lowest level since 2005 with 8,205 applications over the period compared to 10,420.
Fall will not ease pressure on councils
But the Local Government Association said the fall would not bring any relief to councils struggling to provide services.
Sir Simon Milton, chairman of the LGA, said:
“The speed and scale of migration combined with the shortcomings of official population figures is placing pressure on funding for services like housing and children’s services.
“The problem is that the money that is being generated isn’t necessarily finding its way back down to the local level. Official statistics on how many migrants are coming or where they are going are inadequate. No-one has a real grasp of where or for how long migrants are settling so much needed funding for local services isn’t getting to the right places."
Sir Simon called for numbers to be based on GP registrations and wanted the government to set up a contingency fund using the extra revenue generated from migrants to help councils under particular pressure.