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Is the UK changing its mind on immigration?

27 March 2019 Written by Paul John & Co Solicitors Category: Immigration Services

A new Ipsos Mori poll has shown a marked increase in support for immigration by the UK population, prompting questions as to a potential unexpected effect of Brexit.

A poll undertaken as part of the BBC’s “Crossing Divides” season has found almost half of respondents felt that immigration has had a positive effect on the UK, with just over a quarter believing that there had been a negative impact. This is a marked change from 2011, when an Ipsos Mori poll found that 64% of Britons thought immigration was bad for the UK.

The poll surveyed over 22,000 people worldwide, including over 1,500 in the UK.

Tracking British attitudes toward immigration, Ipsos Mori found that the crossover point, where more respondents thought of immigration as having a positive effect than a negative one, occurred just months after the Brexit referendum.

Mark Easton, the BBC Home editor, suggested this may be because respondents assumed that the immigration issue had been dealt with following a ‘leave’ vote in 2016, rather than indicating a change in attitude towards immigration as a whole. However, he also suggested that the national debate on immigration after the Brexit vote might have “focused people's minds on the social, practical and economic trade-offs involved in cutting migrant numbers, resulting in a more nuanced response to the issue.”

The international poll also found that positive responses towards immigration had increased in Australia, the US, and Sweden. The BBC has said that the polling suggests that the UK is now one of the most positive countries in the world toward immigration, something which might surprise those who feel Brexit had galvanised anti-immigration sentiment.

The survey also found that around half of the UK population believe political divisions are more of a danger to our society than they were 20 years ago.

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