Eastern European settlers 'increase Brits approval of migration'

04 Apr 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Britons are becoming happier with the migrants as more Eastern European immigrants come to their shores.

This is the finding of a study led by Anne-Marie Jeannet of the University of Oxford. Ms Jeannet studied responses of 95,685 people living in 15 West European countries to the European Social Survey from between 2002 and 2010.

She revealed that the UK has one of the lowest scores among people asked to rate the effect of immigration on their economy. The average score in the UK was just 4.7, the only lower score was Greece at 3.8. Luxembourg came out top with 6.3.

However, when the results were analysed over time it became clear that the more Eastern Europeans that moved to the UK – and every other country studied – the higher the score given by native inhabitants on immigration.

The rate Britons gave for the economic impacts of immigration rose by around six per cent over the period of the study when the number of Eastern European migrants increased.

Analysing the results as a whole, Ms Jeanett remarked: "Having a greater proportion of migrants from the eight East European countries is associated with people having more positive views about how immigration as a whole affects their nation's economy and culture."

She added that the results also ran "contrary to the conventional wisdom" in that they actually show a picture of tolerance rather than intolerance as immigration levels rise.

However, there were some notable differences to be seen. For example, men gave a higher score to the economic benefits of immigration than women, while university-educated respondents were also more likely to give a higher score than those without degrees of A Levels. Unsurprisingly there was a clear difference recorded in line with political affiliation; Conservative voters gave an average score of 4.4 per cent, while Labour supporters averaged 4.9 and Liberal Democrat voters averaged 5.3.