south asian immigration wembley park station
Respondents said they wanted to see less immigration from south Asia, regardless of education level or age.


By Drew McLachlan

Although a majority of Britons want to increase the number of skilled workers immigrating to the UK, fewer support the idea of more south Asians, even those with degrees, relocating to Britain, a new poll reveals.

Published by King’s College London and Ipsos MORI, researchers surveyed a representative sample of 998 adults living in Britain, asking for their opinion on whether immigration should be increased or decreased.

Questions covered a wide range of demographics, including country of origin, education, sex, age and reasons for immigrating, also asking interviewees how they voted in the EU referendum.

When asked how they felt about immigration from south Asia in general, 47 per cent were ambivalent, stating that current numbers were ideal. Only 12 per cent were in favour of increasing the number of south Asian immigrants, while 36 per cent favoured slightly fewer or a lot fewer.

Most other regions, which included north Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, eastern Europe, western Europe, east Asia and the US saw similar results, with those in favour of lowering immigration numbers outnumbering those wanting to see them increased.

The only outlier was Australia and New Zealand, which saw 23 per cent in favour of more immigration compared to 12 per cent in favour of less.

When immigration from south Asia was broken down into separate groups, those surveyed were generally in favour of less immigration for each demographic.

However, interviewees were nearly evenly split when asked about graduates from this region, with 20 per cent wanting fewer and 18 per cent wanting more, as well as those aged 18 to 34, with 22 per cent wanting less and 21 per cent wanting more.

Those answers were at odds with the sentiment towards skilled workers from overseas. Even those who saw immigration as having a negative effect on Britain were in favour of more skilled immigrants, by 37 per cent to 25 per cent.

Those who voted leave in the EU referendum were largely supportive of increasing the number of skilled immigrants, by 43 per cent to 20 per cent.

No distinction between refugees and migrants

When asked whether more or less refugees should be allowed to enter the UK, slightly more respondents (39 per cent) were in favour of increasing the current numbers than were in favour of lowering them (28 per cent).

When answers were broken down into how respondents felt about immigration generally, those who felt it had a negative effect were largely opposed to refugees while those who felt it had a positive effect supported increasing the number allowed into Britain.

This suggests that those opposed to immigration do not distinguish between refugees, whose lives are in danger, with voluntary migrants.

View the full report below: