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Non-partisan think tank British Future commissioned ICM Unlimited to conduct nationally representative research into public attitudes on a range of immigration-related issues, including the importance of parties’ positions on immigration in voters’ minds at the December 2019 general election as well as whether people think the level of immigration should increase or decrease for specific groups and overall.

The full report, authored by British Future and the Policy Institute at King’s College London, drawing on the research findings can be read here: The reset moment: Immigration in the new parliament

The findings of the research were covered by several major British media organisations, including in the following articles:

Overseas care workers and nurses should be exempt from salary caps after Brexit, say two-thirds of the public‘, The Telegraph

Boris Johnson must take “balanced” approach to immigration as public concern plummets, top think tank urges‘, PoliticsHome

UK immigration no longer “top of mind” issue, says new report‘, City A.M.

Can Labour build its bridge on immigration?‘, LabourList

Can Johnson get the balance on immigration right?‘, ConservativeHome

Is there an immigration policy that can appeal to both cities and towns?‘, CityMetric

Some of the findings include:

  • Immigration ranked ninth out of ten issues that voters considered “very important” when deciding who to vote for in the 2019 general election. Four in ten of those who voted in the 2019 general election say that policies on immigration were “very important” to them in determining their decision to vote for the party that they ended up voting for (41%). In contrast, three-quarters of voters say that the policies on the NHS were “very important” when deciding who to vote for (74%), while six in ten say the same for policies on Brexit (59%).
  • Eight in ten British adults would prefer the number of high-skilled workers from the EU to increase (37%) or remain about the same (42%). Less than four in ten say the same about low-skilled workers from the EU, with around one in twenty saying that they would prefer the number to increase (6%) and three in ten saying that they would prefer the number to stay the same (31%). Half would prefer the number of low-skilled workers from the EU to decrease (51%).
  • Just over six in ten people think that there should be some exceptions to a salary threshold for people moving to the UK to do important jobs that need doing, such as nurses and care workers (63%). Just over one in five say that the Government should not make any exceptions (22%).

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

The poll was commissioned by British Future and carried out by ICM Unlimited. ICM interviewed a representative sample of 2,305 GB adults (18+) – including a boost sample of 253 respondents living in Scotland – online between 10 and 13 January 2020. The data has been weighted to the profile of all adults aged 18+ in Great Britain and is weighted by age, gender, social grade, household tenure, work status, ethnicity, and region. 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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