Research reveals which countries welcome immigrants more than others

by Ray Clancy on September 20, 2017

More people are moving around the world to live and work but some are welcomed more in some countries than others, new research has found.

Overall 75% of people in 25 countries around the world believe that immigration has increased in their country over the last five years, according to new data from the Ipsos Global advisor survey.

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While overall perceptions are somewhat similar to last year, with 78% saying so in 2016, there have been significant shifts in perceptions in several countries when considering the overall trend since 2011.

For example, Germany and Sweden have seen the largest increase in the number of people thinking immigration has increased, up 22% and 24% respectively.

But more people view immigration negatively. Globally, 21% of those surveyed say that immigration has had a positive effect on their country while 42% say it has had a negative impact.

Saudi Arabia, India, Britain, Canada, and Australia are the most positive countries with about two in five saying immigration has had a positive impact with Britain and the United States recording the biggest increase in positive opinions since 2011.

In Britain some 40% now say immigration has had a positive impact, up from 19% in 2011. In the US some 35% say so, up from 18% in 2011. Sweden has seen the largest movement of people becoming more negative, with 25% now saying immigration has been positive compared with 37% in 2011.

Almost, half, 48%, on average think that there are too many immigrants in their country. Turkey has the highest number of people thinking this at 83%, followed by Italy at 66%, South Africa at 62% and Russia also at 62%.

Just under half, 44%, on average, say that immigration is causing their country to change in ways that they do not like. Again, those in Italy and Turkey were most likely to say this at 77% and 63% respectively, while people in Brazil and South Korea were the least likely at 23% and 24% respectively.

Most countries are concerned about immigration placing pressure on public services. In 17 of the 25 countries surveyed at least half said they agreed immigration is placing too much pressure on national public services.

Opinions vary widely on the kind of people that should be granted visas to work. Overall 40% say they agree priority should be given to those with higher education and qualifications who can fill shortages among certain professions and this has not changed since 2016.

Some 58% in New Zealand support giving a higher priority to skilled people, followed by 56% in Saudi Arabia, 55% in Britain, 54% in South Africa, 51% in Australia and Canada, and 50% in India.

On average half think that immigration has placed too much pressure on public services in their country, while just one in five, 19%, disagree. Britain and Australia have seen the biggest decrease in the proportion of people agreeing to this since 2011, down 20 points in Britain to 58% and down 13 points in Australia to 51%.

The largest increase is seen in Turkey where the number has increased from 45% in 2011 to 73% in 2017 and in Sweden where it is up from 40% to 56%.

Some 31% globally believe immigrants make their country a more interesting place to live, with the highest scores seen in Britain and New Zealand, both 49%. Serbia at 8% and Russia and Hungary at 10% are the countries with the fewest people showing positive attitudes towards immigration’s cultural impact.

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