Britain ranks highly in survey on immigration

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* Britain is one of the most welcoming countries for immigrants when compared with 27 other European countries, according to research published today.

A report by the British Council analysed the integration of migrants in the 25 EU states, as well as Norway and Switzerland. Canada was also studied.

It found the UK was ranked joint fifth for the most favourable policies for allowing foreigners long-term residence.

The UK was also ranked joint fifth for policies allowing immigrants to take on nationality.

But Britain was nearer the bottom of the Migrant Integration Policy Index for allowing the right to vote and take part in democracy (15th place), and for allowing immigrants to work or be reunited with family members (12th place).

It said previous research showed there were 3.4 million people in the UK who were born outside the EU, or about one in 18 of the population. In the British Council research, the UK came ninth overall for ease of integration of immigrants, with Sweden coming first.

Martin Davidson, the British Council's chief executive, said: "It is our hope that this transparent and accessible account of Europe's integration policies will trigger wider discussion, greater understanding and effective action."

The research looked at more than 130 policy indicators to build a picture of migrants in 28 countries.