The British immigration debate, parallels with Australia

A great column in the Financial Times from Gus O’Donnell ($) included this nugget:

“Today about 80 per cent think migration is a problem for Britain, although only 30 per cent think it is a problem in their local area.”

This is really interesting. In Australia, we see an inverse trend in relation to public opinion. In response to the impact of migration on local areas with high ethnic populations, 33 per cent have negative opinions compared to 10 per cent nationally (Scanlon Foundation, p.30).

Other facts about the British immigration debate sadly have a familiarity:

“On average, they believe that about one in three people are migrants (the real figure is closer to one in seven) and overestimate the number of EU migrants claiming unemployment benefits by a factor of six. Those who engage in the migration debate should do their best to reduce the gap between perception and reality.”

Perhaps easier said than done.

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