Support for high-skilled immigration found globally

A new survey of 12 countries reveals that people in most economically advanced nations support high-skilled immigration.

The survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre found that Sweden held the most positive view of high-skilled immigration, with 88 per cent of Swedes agreeing that highly skilled people should be encouraged to work in the country.

People in the UK share similar views as those in Sweden, with 85 per cent agreeing with high-skilled immigration. Canada was the next most positive country (84 per cent), followed by Germany, Australia and the United States, where roughly eight-in-ten adults support encouraging highly skilled people to immigrate to their country.

Smaller majorities share this positive view of high-skilled immigration in France, Spain and the Netherlands.

Among the 12 countries analysed, only in Israel (42 per cent) and Italy (35 per cent) do fewer than half back high-skilled immigration.

Across the 12 countries, younger adults, more highly educated adults and adults with higher incomes tend to be more supportive of encouraging highly skilled people to immigrate to their countries – findings that are generally in line with other surveys on attitudes toward immigrants and immigration.

The Pew Research Centre survey also reveals that even among people who would like to see overall immigration reduced, half or more in all but the Netherlands, Israel and Italy support encouraging high-skilled immigration.

Among surveyed countries, in only two – Canada and Australia – do highly educated immigrants make up the majority of the foreign-born population, based on analysis of 2015 government censuses and labour force surveys.

In the United States, just over a third (36 per cent) of immigrants aged 25 and older are college educated. This puts the US ahead of Spain, Netherlands, France, Germany, Greece and Italy, but behind the UK, Israel and Sweden.

Article published 24th January 2019