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Independent think tank British Future commissioned ICM Unlimited to conduct nationally representative research into public attitudes on a range of immigration-related issues, including on whether the coronavirus crisis has shifted attitudes towards “low-skilled” workers and towards the contribution of immigration when it comes to staffing essential services.

The findings were written up by British Future and The Policy Institute at King’s College London:

Immigration Bill: COVID-19 boosts public support for low-paid frontline workers’, British Future

Two-thirds of Britons value “low-skilled” workers more since Covid-19 crisis‘, King’s College London

The findings of this research, as well as the findings of previous research that ICM has carried out for British Future, were covered by several major British media organisations, including the TimesTelegraph, and New Statesman.

Coronavirus makes the Immigration Bill look like an even worse idea‘, New Statesman

The Times view on why the government should change its immigration policy for NHS workers and carers: Open Britain‘, The Times

Ministers accused of hypocrisy over immigration block on care workers safeguarding elderly from Covid-19‘, The Telegraph

Some of the findings include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of adults in Britain agree that “the coronavirus crisis has made me value the role of ‘low-skilled’ workers, in essential services such as care homes, transport and shops, more than before” (64%), with around one in ten disagreeing (9%)
  • Seven in ten agree that “the coronavirus crisis shows how important a contribution immigration makes in staffing our essential services like the NHS” (70%), compared to fewer than one in ten who disagree (8%)
  • When asked about the Government’s proposal for a minimum salary threshold of £25,600 per year that migrants must earn in order to get a visa to work in the UK, six in ten people think that the Government should make some exceptions for people moving to the UK to do important jobs that need doing, such as nurses and care workers (61%). Around a quarter think that the Government should not make any exceptions (26%)

The data tables can be found here: ICM Omnibus – British Future – Immigration Questions – Tables

The poll was commissioned by British Future and carried out by ICM Unlimited. ICM interviewed a representative sample of 2,043 GB adults (18+) between 15 and 17 May 2020. The data has been weighted to the profile of all adults aged 18+ in Great Britain and is weighted by age, gender, region social grade, household tenure, work status, and ethnicity. The data is also weighted by 2019 general election vote and 2016 EU referendum vote.

ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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