UK Immigration Poll:
76% support non-EU migration limit; 34% think government has set one
60% think immigration has been bad for Britain
79% support ‘Go Home’ ad vans; only 17% think they will work
Most do not think Tory majority would mean tougher immigration policy
More than three quarters of voters support the idea of an annual limit on immigration from outside the EU, but only one third think the government has introduced such a limit, according to new research from Lord Ashcroft. The study includes the following findings:
While a majority supports each of the government ‘ s important policies on immigration, most do not know they have been introduced. 76% support an annual limit on non-EU migration; 34% think it has been imposed. 70% support a minimum earning threshold for anyone wishing to bring a spouse from outside Europe; 25% think one has been set. 81% support a minimum probationary period to deter sham marriages; 25% think one is in place.
60% say immigration has produced more disadvantages than advantages for Britain. 23% say they are about even, and 17% say the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Immigrants “claiming benefits and using public services when they have contributed nothing in return” and “increasing pressure on schools and hospitals” are the biggest concerns. “Doing jobs that need doing but British people don’t want to do” and being “prepared to work harder for lower pay than British workers” are regarded as the main advantages.
36% say they or someone in their family have found it harder to find work or are paid less because of competition from migrant workers. 24% say they or their family have been denied access to housing or other public services because immigrants seem to have been given priority.
83% say they or someone in their family have been treated in the NHS by staff originally from overseas. 13% say they or their family have employed immigrants to do cleaning or building jobs at home.
79% say they supported the government ‘ s ‘ Go Home Or Face Arrest ‘ ad vans and only 18% thought they were racist – but only 17% thought the initiative would succeed in persuading illegal immigrants to leave the UK. Only 37% think people in the UK really have a high chance of being arrested and deported.
31% say the Conservatives have the best approach to immigration, followed by UKIP (24%) and Labour (23%). 43% say Britain would have a tougher immigration policy under a Conservative government with an overall majority; 48% say the policy would be much the same as it is today.
Analysis of the poll findings revealed seven ‘segments’ of opinion towards immigration in Britain:
‘ Universal Hostility ‘ (16% of the population) who are critical of all aspects of immigration; likely to be working class, middle aged, and with low levels of formal education.
‘ Cultural Concerns ‘ (16%), largely older owner-occupiers, particularly concerned about pressure on public services and cultural changes to their local area or in society.
‘ Competing for Jobs ‘ (14%) often acknowledge that immigrants work hard in low paid jobs, but are worried about competition in the labour market and downward pressure on wages.
‘ Fighting for Entitlements ‘ (12%) are mainly concerned about immigrants competing for public services and benefits, which they think they often receive at the expense of established residents.
‘ Comfortable Pragmatists ‘ (22%) are largely graduates and professionals and show little concern about immigration as an issue, thinking immigration has enriched society as well as putting pressure on public services.
‘ Urban Harmony ‘ (9%) are young, ethnically diverse and largely city-based. They are more positive than most about immigration and less supportive of measures to restrict immigration.
‘ Militantly Multicultural ‘ (10%) are dominated by graduates and professionals, with a large public sector contingent. They are overwhelmingly positive about nearly every aspect of immigration; most say migrants have made their area a better place to live.
” Whatever people’s view of immigration itself, few think any recent government has had any real grasp of it, or that any of the parties does today: politicians underestimated the size of the challenge, lost control of the situation, refused for too long to acknowledge that any problems might result and are now struggling but failing to cope. Most do not feel there is any strategy for dealing either with the number of migrants, for their successful integration into British society, or for managing the effects they see or fear in terms of housing, infrastructure, jobs, the NHS, schools, or the benefits system.” Lord Ashcroft concludes in his observation of the poll.
Lord Ashcroft’s poll of more than 20,000 voters, together with a discussion event involving 85 members of the public recruited to represent a range of opinion, is the biggest study on attitudes to immigration ever undertaken in Britain.
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