Over half of Brits want to send immigrants ‘home’ (but not their cleaner)

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  • After Brexit, immigration remains number one issue Brits, with 73% of the population wanting tighter restrictions
  • Over half of Brits say immigration is still too high, but of this group;
    • 43% accept that immigration is ‘necessary’ for certain types of jobs
    • Over half of this group have, or would, employ a foreign worker for building (53%) and cleaning work (56%)
  • Majority of people who think that immigration is too high say they wouldn’t apply for a job in building (61%) or driving a taxi (57%), even if they were suddenly unemployed
  • Brexit effect: 83% of Leave voters believe immigration is too high as opposed to 29% of Remain voters

YouGov research has demonstrated that after Brexit, immigration remains the number one issue for Brits, with 73% of the population wanting tighter restrictions on migrants.

A new study from TransferGo, an international money transfer service used largely by Eastern European migrants, has revealed stark contradictions at the heart of British attitudes to immigration. The survey, which was carried out last week by YouGov, revealed that over half (54%) of Brits feel that immigration is too high, yet of this group, 43% agree that immigration is ‘necessary’ to fill certain types of jobs.

Despite this group’s concern over immigration levels, when asked if they had ever or would ever employ immigrant labour to do specific jobs, a surprising number said that they had or would be prepared to do so. Over half (53%) said that they had or would use immigrant labour for building work, cleaning work (58%) or driving a taxi (51%).

Furthermore, amongst British people who think that immigration is too high, there are some who admit that there are certain types of jobs – often associated with immigrant labour – that they wouldn’t apply for even if they suddenly became unemployed. Less than a third of this group said that they would apply for a job in building work (31%) and only 36% would apply for a job driving a taxi.  Similarly, when it comes to cleaning work and seasonal agricultural jobs, 36% and 35% of Brits respectively said that they would not apply for these types of jobs.

Commenting on the data, TransferGo CEO Daumantas Dvilinskas said: “Our research, carried out by YouGov, shows the ridiculous contradictions at the heart of British attitudes to immigration. Our customers are hard-working and occupy essential jobs here in the UK to support family and dependents back home. It doesn’t make sense for people to say that immigration is too high, while at the same time acknowledging that there is a need for their labour and in some cases, even employing them to work for them. We hope that this data will help to contribute to a more sensible and measured conversation about immigration and work in the UK.”

Attitudes to immigration have a strong correlation with political outlook. People who voted leave are much more likely to believe immigration is too high (83%) whereas only 29% of Remainers think that this is the case. Similarly, there is a clear correlation between age and attitudes to immigration, as 69% of over 65s believe immigration is too high, as opposed to just 30% of 18-24-year olds. However, geography appears to be less important. In metropolitan London, for instance, half (49%) believe immigration is too high – just nine percentage points less than the Midlands/Wales at 58%.

Last year, UK was the favorite destination for the Romanians who leave abroad to work, for the second year in a row, according to domestic statistics (National Institute of Statistics).

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