UK citizens support equal rights for legal immigrants

07 May 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The majority of British people believe that immigrants living legally in the UK should have the same legal rights as those born in the UK.

That’s according to a poll of local newspapers carried out by Local World. It found around six in 10 Labour, Lib Dem, Green Party and SNP voters agreed. However, fewer than four in 10 Conservative voters did and only around three in 10 UKIP supporters thought immigrants should have the same rights.

The poll also found that most people believed that UK immigrants should adopt the values and cultures of the UK if they chose to live in Britain. Around two-thirds also believed the language test for non-EU immigrants should be tougher.

However, the numbers supporting a more difficult test depended on which political party the respondent supported. Nearly nine out of 10 of those supporting anti-immigration UKIP believed the English language test for people aiming to become permanent UK citizens should be harder than it is currently. The number fell to around 80 per cent among Conservative supporters and to less than half among supporters of the other main parties.

Respondents were divided over whether migrants from European Union countries should be allowed to work in the UK. A total of 43 per cent said they thought fewer EU citizens should be permitted to work in Britain, while 37 per cent disagreed.

However, Green Party candidate David Kirwan told the Nottingham Post: "We need some level of immigration in this country to keep it running. Look at the NHS, we are actively recruiting nurses from all over the world because of the lack of funding to train nurses here.

"Without immigration, the NHS would crumble. And I think it's not so easy just to say it's all bad, immigration does bring positives to the country.”