‘The immigration debate has been distorted by dogma’. This was how the Times welcomed the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee’s report last week. The lesson to be taken was that the government should aim for ‘a Brexit dividend of more skilled migrant workers, not fewer’.
An ICM poll for British Future on attitudes towards immigration published a couple of days later also focused on these dis-aggregated numbers – skilled versus unskilled and so on – which you can see here.
They also asked respondents to indicate which of the following statements they agreed with, allowing only one option.
The Government’s priority should be to reduce the numbers of all types of migrants coming to the UK (30%)
The Government should have different targets and approaches for dealing with different kinds of immigration i.e. different for higher skilled and lower-skilled migrant workers, foreign students etc. (36%)
Reducing migrant numbers should not be a priority of the Government (32%)
Similarly, participants were directly asked whether they would prefer immigration policy to target reducing overall numbers, through the net migration target, or an alternative approach to targets (p247, Q7).
You can read the full report here, which contains numerous references throughout to conversations during the research about cutting immigration numbers.
Given the concern about the bigger picture, as Lord Green argued in TCW last week – about the wider demographic context, the rate and extent of population expansion – that politicians perhaps are ignoring at their peril, we believe the public should be given a chance to answer one simple and straightforward question that we put to you here:
Do you support a significant reduction in the level of immigration?
— The Conservative Woman (@TheConWom) September 24, 2018