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Only 9 per cent happy with handling of immigration: Survey

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There is more widespread unhappiness among the people over immigration than at any point since the Brexit referendum, according to a survey by Ipsos and British Future.

Nearly seven out of ten respondents (69 per cent) said they were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of immigration, against just 9 per cent who said they were happy.

The survey was conducted online with 3,000 adults across Britain between 17–28 February this year.

Only 16 per cent of current Conservative supporters – and just 8 per cent of those who voted Conservative in 2019 – are satisfied with the government’s handling of immigration.

While 55 per cent of current Conservative supporters and 71 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters are dissatisfied.

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Some 10 per cent of Labour supporters say they are satisfied, while 72 per cent are not.

British Future director Sunder Katwala said, “There is widespread public dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of immigration, but for different reasons. Many Conservatives want tougher action to match tough words, while Labour supporters want more compassion alongside control.”

Channel crossings

Nearly 54 per cent of the surveyed felt the government was ‘not doing enough to stop channel crossings’. Half of them (51 per cent) are dissatisfied because ‘immigration numbers are too high’.

Among the current Labour supporters, 42 per cent felt the government was creating “a negative or fearful environment for migrants” and 41 per cent felt it was not “doing enough to stop channel crossings”.

However, 28 per cent felt the government was creating a “negative or fearful environment for migrants who live in Britain”.

The new tracker survey finds that 52 per cent of the public now supports reducing immigration (up from 48 per cent in 2023).

Support for reducing immigration is still significantly lower than in 2015, the first year of the tracker, when 67% of the public backed reductions.

Seven in ten current Conservative supporters (72 per cent) want immigration numbers reduced, while 17 per cent want it to stay the same and 9 per cent want it to increase.

But most Labour supporters don’t, preferring immigration numbers to either remain the same (32 per cent) or increase (20 per cent), although 40 per cent do want reductions.

Ipsos head of political research Gideon Skinner said Britons have been more negative towards immigration over the last two years.

“However many of the underlying dilemmas remain the same, with overall people preferring more control, more accountability to Parliament, and being open to migration for work in a range of specific sectors such as health and social care – and views varying according to the exact policy in question,” he said.

As the UK heads towards a general election, the tracker finds that the Labour Party is more trusted than the Conservatives to have ‘the right immigration policies overall’.

While 68 per cent of those surveyed say they don’t trust the Conservative part on immigration, Labour party fared slightly better with 33 per cent agreeing to its policies, but nearly half (51 per cent) expressed their dissatisfation.

“Labour is more trusted on immigration than the Conservatives, especially among its own supporters, but there are hardly high levels of faith in Keir Starmer’s party,” Skinner said.

Rwanda plan

On asylum, the tracker finds that 47 per cent support the Rwanda scheme and 29 per cent are opposed to it. The scheme has more takers among the current Conservative supporters (75 per cent), while it has the backing of only 31 per cent Labour supporters.

Nearly 56 per cent of the public thinks the Rwanda scheme is unlikely to reduce the number of people trying to enter the UK.

Work visas

When allocating work visas for immigration, over half of those surveyed (52 per cent) want the government to prioritise migration to address shortages at all skill levels, while only 26 per cent wanted it to attract people for highly skilled roles.

Less than 3 in 10 people support reducing the numbers of seasonal fruit and vegetable pickers, construction workers, restaurant and catering staff, teachers, academics, computer experts, and lorry drivers coming to the UK.

The support for reducing the number of international students coming to the UK also didn’t find much favour with 53 per cent opposing it.

 

 

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