Britain’s Outlook on Immigration

How strongly the citizens of UK feel for the issue of immigration has been proved in their response to Brexit voting and its results. But the recent influx of migrants from Europe is not the only trigger to this action.

Immigration has constantly ranked among the top 5 most significant national issues for the British people. Up till the middle of 2015, it was the topic chosen most often by respondents asked about the national issues that affect them the most. 45% of all chose immigration. The ones that followed were NHS (40%) and then the economy of UK (26%). Interestingly, the economy has ranked as top issue from 2008, but it fell in public salience as compared to other issues since mid-2014.

Rise in cases attributed to ‘Islamic terrorism’ that resulted in influx of asylum seekers from Syria into Europe and then the Paris attacks of November 2015 raised the concern for immigration. At least 75% of the people in Great Britain have been in favour of reducing immigration.

The resistance to the arrival of immigrants is not really new. Increasing concern regarding ‘New Commonwealth’ immigration encouraged the British Election Study to start probing the public on their views as far back as 1964. However, in those years, it did not ask the question to those who were known as ‘coloured’ respondents. Throughout the period, a big majority of people in the UK have agreed that there are too many immigrants in their country.

On a positive note, it has been seen that immigration also contributed positively to UK’s economy. Revenue from students who come to study here, the businesses set up by foreign nationals and the general contribution of people who are part of the adult workforce have helped in adding to the GDP. This is why immigration does continue.

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