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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 what characteristics people think a points-based system should reward. A full report drawing on the findings will be published by British Future next month.

The results to two of the questions were published ahead of the publication of the final report, and are covered in a blog post on British Future’s website: The Australian points system: what does the public think?

The findings of these questions were referenced by several major British media organisations, including in the following articles:

Brexit isn’t done but voters think immigration is sorted‘, The Times

Low skilled migrants to be restricted to time-limited job offers in shortage areas under new points system‘, The Telegraph

Business blocked from immigration discussions after MAC report, Downing Street suggests‘, City A.M.

Some of the findings include:

  • 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%).
  • The characteristics that the greatest proportion of people think should be awarded high points under an Australian-style points-based system are ‘being high-skilled’ (63%) and ‘having an occupation needed by the NHS’ (61%).
  • The traits that the fewest people would award high points for are ‘having at least £5,000 in savings’ (13%) and ‘being on a high salary in their current job overseas’ (14%).

The data tables for the two questions can be found here: ICM Omnibus – British Future – Immigration Poll – 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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