Survey reveals little opposition to UK work permits

17 Oct 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Recent research has revealed that there is comparatively little opposition for UK work permits for skilled foreign employees.

The survey, conducted by the Oxford University Migration Observatory, found that only 32 per cent of those questioned are opposed to skilled migrants coming to the UK. However, 64 per cent were shown to be opposed to unskilled migrant workers in this country.

Asylum seekers were identified as the migrant group that British people are most concerned about, despite the fact that they made up just four per cent of immigrants to the UK in 2009. Meanwhile, students, who represented the largest group of legal migrants in that year accounting for 37 per cent of immigrants, were of the least concern to Brits.

Dr Scott Blinder, senior researcher at the observatory, public opinion specialist and lead author of the report, observed that the statistics revealed “blunt questions about whether the British public supports or opposes immigration in general do not capture the complexities or many people's real views”.

He added that the headline figures are “not nearly fine-grained enough to give policy-makers a real understanding of what a majority of the public wants”.

Indeed, 69 per cent of those questioned by the observatory stated that they would support reductions in UK immigration; a figure that is in line with previous surveys. But this shows very little insight into the different areas of immigration, for which support varies widely.