Russians and British think there is too much immigration

by Ray Clancy on August 10, 2011

Brits think it's better to live overseas

Seven in ten people in the UK say there are too many immigrants in the country and just a quarter believe immigration is good for the economy according to new research from Ipsos MORI.

Its latest Global Advisory survey conducted in 23 countries show that only Russians are more likely than Britons to agree that there are too many immigrants in their country where 77% do so.

Other countries with similarly high levels of agreement are Belgium, 72%, Italy and Spain with 67% and South Africa at 66%. The Japanese are the happiest with their current level of immigration as just 15% think there are too many immigrants.

Immigration has also raised other concerns. Three quarter, 76%, of Britons agree that immigration has placed too much pressure on public services while three in five, while 62% agree that immigration has made it more difficult for British people to get jobs. Concern about the stress placed on public services by immigration is higher in Britain than any of the other countries included in this survey.

Immigration is most positively seen in Brazil where half, 49%, agree that immigrants make their country a more interesting place to live and a similar number, 47%, believe immigration is good for the economy of Brazil. Around three in ten Britons say the same, 33% and 27% respectively.

‘Clearly people in Britain are concerned how immigration is affecting their employment opportunities, the strain on public services and impact on a sluggish economy. These concerns are also reflected in many countries around the world,’ said a spokesman for Ipsos MORI.

The poll exposes the huge on going scale of public worry in the UK over migration levels in recent years. Under Labor’s open door immigration policy, the population was boosted by more than 3.2million arrivals from overseas. However, the current government wants to reduce net migration to tens of thousands.

‘Concern in Britain is almost the highest in the world. This is a measure of the chaotic legacy of three million immigrants admitted by the previous government. The poll is a timely reminder that the present government must keep its pledge to get immigration down to tens of thousands or pay a very heavy price with public opinion,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think tank.

Last year net immigration, the difference between those arriving and those leaving, rose to near record levels. In the year to September 2010 it hit 242,000, the third highest on record and the fastest rate since Eastern European countries joined the European Union seven years ago and were allowed to come and work in the UK.

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