Poll shows UK public in favour of economic immigration

The YouGov polling organisation has carried out polling in the UK recently which shows that the UK's population has complex views on immigration. On the whole, people in the UK approve of economic immigration but disapprove of family-based immigration.

UK people are overwhelmingly in favour of encouraging wealthy investors to settle in the UK. They also approve of allowing international students to come to study in UK universities. There is also a sizeable majority in favour of allowing highly skilled workers to come and work in the UK.

Peter Kellner, a co-founder of YouGov, wrote an article for UK newspaper The Guardian on 25th November 2013 in which he set out the figures gathered from two recent YouGov polls.

Britons welcome high value migrants

He said that
  • 71% of Britons think either the same number or more wealthy investors should be admitted to the UK. Only 19% thought that fewer people should be admitted.
  • 68% of Britons thought more or the same number of students should be allowed to study in the UK. Only 25% thought the number should be cut.
  • 63% of Britons thought that as many or more highly skilled workers should be allowed into the UK to work. 29% thought that this number should be cut.
  • 50% of people thought as many or more people should be allowed to come to the UK to work in the NHS. 39% thought that the current level should be decreased.
  • 48% thought that as many or more people 'fleeing war or persecution' should be admitted. 38% thought the number should be cut.
  • Only 33% of those surveyed thought that the number of people coming to the UK to join relatives already here should be maintained or raised. 57% though that the number should be cut.
The findings also show that the UK population distrust their government on immigration, as they do on almost every other issue. Only 7% of the population believes that immigration has fallen in recent years even though the government says that immigration has fallen by nearly 100,000 a year since 2010.

Two thirds of Britons favour limiting EU immigration to UK

The survey also showed that about two thirds of those surveyed were in favour of limiting immigration from within the EU. Mr Kellner said 'By 52% to 29%, voters want David Cameron to seek to end these rights [the right of Europeans to work in the UK] as part of his proposed renegotiation of the United Kingdom's relationship with the EU'.

Mr Kellner predicts 'immigration then, is not going to go away as one of the hottest political potatoes in the run-up to next year's elections to the European parliament and the following year's general election'.

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