Brits hold relatively positive view of immigration

The British public is more positive in their attitudes towards immigration compared with many other developed countries, new research shows.

A recent survey carried out by global research company Ipsos, which asked a series of questions on immigration across 24 countries, also shows Britons have become more positive since 2011 but still have their concerns over immigration, primarily around its effect on public services.

When asked if immigration has had a positive or negative impact on their country, three in 10 (28 per cent) members of the British public say that immigrants have had either a ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ positive impact. This is up 9 points from 2011, and above the global average score of 21 per cent; higher than countries including the United States (25 per cent) and Germany (20 per cent).

Britons are also more likely to believe that immigration has made their country a more interesting place to live when compared to most other countries. Two in five (40 per cent) Brits agree immigration has made the country a more interesting place to live compared to the global average of 30% per cent – placing Britain 8th out of 24 and higher than fellow European nations Germany (33 per cent), France (20 per cent) and Italy (13 per cent). More Britons believe this is the case today than in 2011 when 33 per cent believed immigration made Britain a more interesting place to live.

More Brits also now say that immigration has been good for the economy – 38 per cent agreed with the statement compared to 32 per cent in 2014 and 27 per cent in 2011. Britain ranks 6th out of 24 countries with positive views on immigration’s impact on the economy, and scores 10 per cent higher than the global average of 28 per cent.

Moreover, fewer Brits (48 per cent) now say that immigration makes it more difficult for nationals to get jobs than in 2011 (down from 62 per cent) and slightly above the global average of 45 per cent.

Despite British attitudes towards immigration becoming more positive since 2011 and being more positive than most other countries in the survey, the British public still have their concerns. When asked if immigration has placed too much pressure on public services 68 per cent believe this to be the case, making Britain the 2nd most concerned country (behind Turkey where 81 per cent are concerned.

What’s more, over half of the Brits surveyed (54 per cent) agreed that immigration is causing the country to change in ways they don’t like (26 per cent disagreed) – placing Britain 8th out of 24 countries when ranking by the number believing their country is changing in a negative way.

The top five countries with the most positive views of immigration overall were found to be Saudi Arabia, India, Canada, Australia and Sweden.

Popular British immigrant destinations Australia and Canada both ranked highly terms of people who believed that immigration has made their home country a more interesting place, finishing second and third respectively, behind China.