Britons want immigration reduced

Most Britons want to see immigration reduced, but think the Government should focus on cutting the number of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers instead of foreign students and skilled workers, a survey showed today.

Half of those who want to see immigration reduced said most or even all of the cuts should come from among illegal immigrants, research by Oxford University's Migration Observatory found.



And of the three in 10 people who do not want to see immigration cut, three fifths still want to cut the number of migrants in the UK illegally, with two-fifths feeling strongly about this.



David Cameron appealed for the public to "shop" illegal immigrants last Monday as he pledged to reclaim Britain's borders, urging Britons to help tackle the issue by reporting suspicious individuals.



The Government has pledged to cut net migration from the current 242,000 to the "tens of thousands" last seen in the 1990s, with crackdowns on forced and sham marriages, bogus students and an annual cap on immigrants coming from outside the EU.



But the Migration Observatory report showed foreign students, which make up almost two fifths of all immigrants to the UK, appear to be of little concern to Britons with just a third wanting cuts to come from this area.



Meanwhile, more than half want to see a fall in the number of asylum seekers coming to the UK, despite the fact they make up the smallest proportion of immigrants, just 4% in 2009.



And while almost two-thirds backed reducing immigration among low-skilled workers, which come mostly from the EU, only a third wanted to see fewer skilled migrants.



But international conventions and EU membership constrain the Government from reducing the numbers of asylum seekers or EU migrants in the UK, the report said.



Dr Scott Blinder, its lead author, said the survey exposed the difficulties the Government faces in meeting public demand.



"The Government is stuck between a rock and a hard place," he said.



"A clear majority of people in Britain would like immigration reduced, but they want the cuts to come from specific groups of immigrants, and these are often groups over whom the Government has limited direct control, and sometimes groups that are comparatively small in number."



He added: "Blunt questions about whether the British public supports or opposes immigration in general do not capture the complexities of many people's real views, and are not nearly fine-grained enough to give policy-makers a real understanding of what a majority of the public wants."



But Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "We have made sweeping changes to get a grip on immigration in this country, closing down routes that were subject to abuse and taking action against those with no right to be here.



"This is clearly in line with what the public want us to be doing. There is much more to be done and we will stick to our course."



:: Ipsos Mori carried out face-to-face interviews with 1,002 people aged 15+ in Britain between September 2 and 8.





Source: PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea