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TransaTlanTic Trends: immigraTion Focus PaPers

Parochial and cosmoPoliTan BriTain


examining the social divide in reactions to immigration
roBerT Ford

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Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain


Examining the Social Divide in Reactions to Immigration

Transatlantic Trends Immigration Focus Papers April 2012

By Robert Ford1

Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Overall Assessments of Migration: Who Sees it as a Problem? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Which Migrants are Desirable? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Legal and Illegal Immigration: Public Concern and Policy Response . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Integrating Settled Immigrants: Perceptions and Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Robert Ford is a Hallsworth Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Change, University of Manchester.

Executive Summary

ritish opinion is negative overall, but strongly divided: The British public is more negative about immigration than that of the other countries surveyed by Transatlantic Trends Immigration (TTI), but they are also more divided over the issue. Age, education, economic security, and migrant heritage all strongly predict views about immigration and immigrants in TTI countries, but the effects are stronger in Britain than elsewhere. These factors also all overlap, both in Britain and elsewhere; in particular, the last three are all related to age. The result is a generational divide over immigration, with older generations much more hostile about immigration than younger cohorts. This divide is wider in Britain than in other TTI countries. The British favor migration that is economically beneficial: The British are not hostile to all forms of migration, but are much more positive about migrants who are well qualified to contribute to the economy generally or migrants who are recruited to work in specific welfare state sectors such as health care and long-term care for the elderly. British voters tend to have a knee-jerk negative response to migration in the abstract, but much more nuanced views of migration when it is placed in the context of real policy debates. Targeted migration policies such as Labours points system or recruitment to specific sectors with high demand are likely to enjoy much higher public support. Illegal migration is the focus of concern: The British are much more concerned about illegal than legal migration, although there are deep generational divisions in reactions to both groups. Respondents are nearly unanimous in favoring stronger enforcement policies to deal with illegal migration, but are divided over the use of assistance policies such as international aid. The latter are favored by younger, more cosmopolitan voters but regarded with suspicion by the more parochial older generations. British respondents strongly,

and universally, oppose providing welfare benefits to illegal migrants, but are deeply divided over providing welfare benefits to legal migrants. The British are much less willing to extend welfare benefits to migrants than respondents in any of the other countries surveyed by TTI, which may be a consequence of frequent negative media stories alleging overly generous treatment of migrant welfare claims. The British are quite optimistic about integration, particularly for the second generation: The British public are divided about whether first generation migrants, in particular Muslim migrants, are integrating well, but are much more positive about the second generation British-born children of migrants. The widespread elite concern over the perceived failure of Muslim minorities to integrate is not reflected in public opinion; large majorities of Britons feel that the Muslim second generation is integrating well, and a majority of younger, more cosmopolitan Britons also think first generation Muslims are making good progress. In terms of policy responses, we find solid support for several integration policy options language lessons, discrimination bans, and teaching respect but divided opinion over extending political rights and access to welfare benefits. We also find that the British respondents who are most concerned about high immigration levels are the least willing to support more active integration policies.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

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T

Introduction

he past 15 years has seen one of the largest and most diverse waves of migration in British history. The foreign-born work force rose from 2 million to over 3.5 million between 1997 and 2010, and in recent years, migrant inflows have averaged over 500,000 per year. Large numbers of migrants continue to arrive from Britains former colonies in Africa and the Asian subcontinent but recent migration has also become more diverse. Over 1 million migrants have so far come to Britain from the new European Union member states in Central and Eastern Europe, and while many have since returned, a growing proportion are settling in Britain for the long term. Britain has also accepted large numbers of asylum applicants from conflictstricken countries such as Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, particularly in the early 2000s, and Britains universities have capitalized on their global reputations by recruiting ever-growing numbers of globally mobile students. This new migration wave has been very controversial, with widespread evidence of mounting public concern over the magnitude of the inflow and its effects on British society.1 Anxieties have been voiced over a wide range of issues: pressures on public services, scandals concerning border security and illegal migration, and worries about the integration of new migrant minorities, particularly Muslim migrants, who have become a focus of concern following riots by young Muslims in northern towns in 2001 and terror attacks in 2005. This report aims to go beyond the headline public opinion figures to look in depth at the social divisions in British reactions to migration,

and to move beyond assessments of migrations overall impact to examine how British citizens think about the concrete policy controversies that recent migration has created. In order to do this, we combined data from all four of the TTI surveys conducted between 2008 and 2011,2 providing us with much larger sample sizes on questions that have been asked more than once. However, as very few questions were asked in every survey, most of the analysis relies on a subset of this combined data set. The data used in each case is detailed in the notes to the charts and tables. In the first section, we examine overall perceptions about the impact of migration, and show how several social developments rising education levels, rising diversity, and more tolerant, cosmopolitan attitudes among the young combine to produce overlapping social divides in British attitudes, between older, less-educated parochial Britons who are hostile to migration and younger, highly qualified cosmopolitan Britons who are more positive about it. These social divisions are important as they involve large differences in attitudes, and cross-cut the defining political divisions in Britain, which tend to concern class, income, and the role of the state. The role of age, education, and migration heritage also has a key implication: attitudes towards immigrants are likely to become gradually more welcoming as older, less-educated, and less-diverse cohorts pass away and are replaced by younger, more educated, and more diverse generations.

1 Blinder, S. Thinking Behind The Numbers: Understanding Public Opinion on Immigration in Britain, University of Oxford: The Migration Observatory (2011), http://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/migobs/Report%20-%20 Public%20Opinion.pdf; McLaren, L. Immigration and Political Trust in Britain, British Journal of Political Science 42, no. 1 (2012): 162-85; McLaren, L. and M. Johnson. Resources, Group Conflict and Symbols: Explaining Anti-Immigration Hostility in Britain, Political Studies 55, no. 4 (2007): 709-32.

2 TTI historically surveyed opinion in the United States, Canada, and six EU countries: Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. This years survey included Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United States. The surveys are conducted by TNS opinion, who gather a demographically representative sample of around 1,000 adults in each country each September. TTI is a joint project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Compagnia di San Paolo, and the Barrow Cadbury Trust, with additional support from the Fundacin BBVA .

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

After an initial focus on the social distribution of overall reactions to migration, we move to considering some of the central questions of political and policy debate over migration. Research on migration too often focuses on attitudes to migrants as a single category of people, even though there are many different types of migrants, and there is growing evidence that public attitudes to them are not identical.3 This is reflected in the evolution of policy in Britain over recent years, which has sought to apply strict entry criteria, allowing highly educated migrants with language skills to settle, while strongly discouraging lessqualified migrants. Public opinion polls on migration also typically divorce reactions to migrant settlement from the context of broader policy debates, such as the role of migration in offsetting the effects of an aging population. In the second analysis section, we look at both of these issues, and therefore take a detailed look at which criteria the public thinks are important in deciding whether to let migrants in, and at whether British respondents are more supportive of migrants recruited to relieve the pressures generated by population aging. In the third section, we turn to another often neglected, yet central, distinction in Western public debates about immigration the distinction between legal and illegal migrants. This distinction is at the heart of public concern over immigration, as revealed in a recent report by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, which showed that illegal migration attracted much greater concern than legal migration, and many voters who wanted migration reduced were in fact only concerned about the number of illegal migration settlements.4 We examine both public perceptions about these two forms of migration settlement, and public views on two key policy
3 4

debates, over which policies should be used to reduce illegal immigration, and which welfare state benefits legal and illegal migrants should be allowed to receive. In the final section, we move from debates over the settlement of new migrants to consider the issue of how to integrate settled migrants into British society. We examine British public perceptions about how well migrants and their children have integrated into British society, and then turn to consider which policies they think may be appropriate to encourage integration. We conclude that the British are more divided over immigration than is commonly assumed, but their attitudes on the issue are also much more nuanced than the caricature of unrelenting opposition often found in the media and politics. We identify a generational division at the heart of British society, between more suspicious older Britons and more accepting younger Britons, at the heart of this. This division cross-cuts political conflicts, which do not at present tend to be organized along generational lines, and resonates with other research that has shown that the dramatic changes in British society over the past 50 years following economic globalization and social integration across borders are reflected in wide differences in views of diversity, ethnic minorities, and national identity between older and younger generations. Most Britons of all ages are much more openminded about immigration than is often claimed. The overall picture is one of a pragmatic population wrestling with conflicting concerns on a difficult issue. Majorities support accepting highly educated migrants with English language skills, or migrants who can help to meet demand in key welfare state sectors like medicine and long-term care. The focus of their concern is on unskilled and illegal immigration, which suggests the current British government strategy of imposing steep cuts in

Blinder 2011. Ibid.

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inflows of skilled and student migration may be imposing economic costs unnecessarily. Such migrants do not trouble their voters much. The British are, however, very keen to see migration laws and regulations enforced more effectively, which may explain the outrage that greets press stories about poor performance on this front. Better progress here could do more to assuage voter

concerns than imposing and enforcing somewhat arbitrary caps on total migrant inflow. When their thoughts turn to the migrants already settled in Britain, we find the British are remarkably positive about their integration into mainstream British society, but are also very keen to ensure they do not become a burden on the welfare state.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

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Overall Assessments of Migration: Who Sees it as a Problem?


than an opportunity, compared with 60% of those who have a degree a 22% difference. The average difference in other TTI countries is 13%. We find that 49% of Britons aged 18-24 consider immigration more of a problem; for those aged over 65, the figure is 36 percentage points higher, at 85%. For the rest of the TTI samples, the difference between oldest and youngest cohorts is much smaller at 17%. Less than half of Britons born abroad (48%) or with both parents born abroad (45%) regard migration as a problem, compared to 75% of those born in Britain to native parents, a difference of close to 30 percentage points. In the other TTI countries, the equivalent difference is less than 20 points. This basic analysis, focusing on a selection of the most important demographic variables, confirms that immigration attitudes are not uniformly distributed across society, and indeed, that in Britain, views are more socially polarized than in most other countries. Regression analysis, which tests the impact of each factor while controlling for the effects of the other factors, confirms that age, education, migrant heritage, and economic security all have an independent effect on viewing migration as a problem, and on regarding it as one of the most important problems facing the nation.6 Younger respondents, those with university education, those who report having improved economic circumstances, and those who have parents born abroad are consistently much more welcoming to immigrants. As we noticed in the graphs, these divides between social groups in their reaction to immigrants are larger in Britain than in the other countries TTI surveyed. These demographic factors also overlap. Owing to the expansion of universities, and the rapid rise in migration across borders in recent decades,
6 The results of this regression analysis are reported in the Appendix, as are all other regression results in this paper.

e start by examining overall attitudes to immigration in Britain in order to identify the social factors that predict positive or negative views of the current migration situation. Analysis of the topline Transatlantic Trends Immigration (TTI) data has shown that the British are unusually negative about immigration: more British people express the view that immigration is more of a problem than an opportunity than do respondents in any of the other countries examined by TTI. Figures 1-4 look at how perceptions that immigration is a problem rather than an opportunity are distributed across social groups in Britain, and compares this distribution to the pattern seen in the other TTI countries.

There are three important patterns to note here. Firstly, the British are consistently more negative than the other countries in the TTI sample. This is true for every single demographic sub-group, as well as for the overall samples. Secondly, there are clear demographic patterns to the responses here: younger, more educated, and more financially secure people, and those with migrant heritage, are all much more positive about migration. These statistically significant5 demographic differences are evident both in Britain and in the other TTI countries, suggesting that there are important social divides in reactions to immigration in all developed countries. Thirdly, attitudes in Britain are more socially polarized, with larger demographic differences on age, education, and migrant heritage than the rest of the TTI samples. Eighty -two percent of those who left school with less than high school graduation qualifications (A-levels in Britain) regard migration as more of a problem
5 All four factors are significant at the 1% level in a logistic regression model, which looks at which factors are associated with the belief that migration is a problem. This means there is a less than 1% chance that any of these associations came about by chance alone, even when controlling for the effects of the other factors.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

100 90 80 70

Figure 1: Agreement that Immigration is More of a Problem than an Opportunity, by Migrant Heritage
Britain Other TTI countries

75

Percent agreeing

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Respondent born abroad Both parents born abroad One parent born abroad Both parents born in country 48 45 40 33 32 57 52

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2009-2011 Q27 (2010, 2011); Q26 (2009) N = 2,812 (Britain), 17,777 (other TTI countries)

100 90 80 70

Figure 2: Agreement that Immigration is More of a Problem than an Opportunity, by Age


Britain Other TTI countries 83 78 67 71 58 47 51 51 53

Percent agreeing

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 18-24 56 43

63

25-34

35-44

45-64

55-64

65 plus

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2009-2011 Q27 (2010, 2011); Q26 (2009) N = 2,812 (Britain), 17,777 (other TTI countries)

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100 90 80 70

Figure 3: Agreement that Immigration is More of a Problem than an Opportunity, by Educational Level
Britain 86 81 Other TTI countries

Percent agreeing

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Below high school High school 58 56

65

47

44 33

Undergraduate

Postgraduate

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2009-2011 Q27 (2010, 2011); Q26 (2009) N = 2,812 (Britain), 17,777 (other TTI countries)

100 90 80 70

Figure 4: Agreement that Immigration is More of a Problem than an Opportunity, by Financial Situation
Britain 80 70 64 53 44 41 68 63 56 42 Other TTI countries

Percent agreeing

60 50 40 30 20 10 0

A lot worse

A little worse

The same

A little better

A lot better

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2009-2011 Q27 (2010, 2011); Q26 (2009) N = 2,812 (Britain), 17,777 (other TTI countries)

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

younger people are more likely to have attended university, and are more likely to be the children of migrants. Highly educated younger people are also more likely to report their household finances are stable and improving. For example, 66% of 18-24 year olds in the TTI sample have attended or are attending university or other higher education institutions, and 32% report that at least one of their parents were born abroad. For senior citizens (over 65 years old), the equivalent figures are 15% having attended university and 5% with a parent born abroad. The cumulative effects of these overlapping differences lead to a strong social polarization in immigration attitudes. At one pole are parochial pensioners who grew up in an

immobile, mono-ethnic society where university education was a preserve of the elite, and contact with someone from another country was a rarity. At the other pole are the cosmopolitan young: highly educated, economically secure, and used to effortless travel across borders and regular mixing with people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Most will have friends or family members who have moved from one country to another. It is these vast differences in personal social experience that produce profound differences in reactions to immigration. To reflect the cumulative effect of these overlapping social divisions over immigration, we create two

100 90 80 70 60 Percent 50 40 30 20 10 0

Figure 5: Percentage of Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners who Regard Immigration as a Problem and as One of the Two Most Important Problems Facing the Country
Cosmopolitan young Parochial pensioners

87

62 54 45 36 22 12

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Britain

Other TTI countries

Britain

Other TTI countries

Immigration more a problem than an opportunity

Immigration one of the two most important problems facing the country

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2011 Q27 (2010-2011); Q26 (2009); Q1a (2008-2011) N = 2,812 (Britain), 17,777 (other TTI countries)

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categories of respondent. The cosmopolitan young are people under 35 with university degrees and/or at least one parent born abroad. This group constitutes about 12% of the total sample in Britain, and about 9% of the sample in other TTI countries. The parochial pensioners are people aged 65 and over with no university education and with neither parent born abroad. They are around 17% of the total sample in Britain, and around 15% of the sample in the other TTI countries. We illustrate these differences in Figure 5. The dramatic differences in attitude are immediately apparent. In Britain, the cosmopolitan young are evenly split over whether immigration represents more of a problem than an opportunity, while nearly nine in ten parochial pensioners regard it as a problem. Forty-five percent of British parochial pensioners regard immigration as one of the two most pressing problems facing Britain, an extraordinary figure given the financial crisis, but only one in five cosmopolitan young Britons express similar concerns. This division in attitudes is also observed in other TTI countries, but feelings

in Britain are both more intense and more socially polarized. Three key findings emerge from this examination of public views about the overall effects of migration: 1. British views about immigration are much more negative than those typically found in other TTI countries. 2. British views are very socially polarized, more so than in the other surveyed nations. 3. Many of the factors that predict attitudes on immigration age, education, migrant heritage, and financial security tend to overlap with each other. The result is a strong social division between the cosmopolitan young highly educated, ethnically diverse, and relatively comfortable with immigration and the parochial pensioners older, homogenously white respondents who are deeply alarmed by the settlement of migrants.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

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3
O

Which Migrants are Desirable?

ur initial analysis has shown that the British tend to regard the overall impact of immigration negatively, but that attitudes are also very socially polarized between parochial and cosmopolitan social groups. However, a focus on global assessments of the impact of migration can only take us so far. Respondents may hold negative views of the overall impact of migration, yet also accept that some kinds of migrants are highly beneficial. This perspective has been reflected in policy reforms. Since 2008, British policymakers have sought to prioritize highly skilled and educated migration, and limit inflows of the less skilled and educated, by operating a points system for migration from outside the EU. The criteria for this system have been tightened over time, and it is now very difficult for the unskilled, those who do not speak English, and those without relatives settled in Britain to migrate legally from outside the EU. Reforms to the labor migration and family reunion migration systems have also placed greater emphasis on skills perceived to be necessary for social and economic integration, particularly English language skills. In this section we examine whether the British, who are usually negative about immigrants, make exceptions for migrants with specific resources to offer the country. 3.1: Which Criteria Should be Used to Judge whether to Allow Immigrants In? In 2008 and 2009, Transatlantic Trends Immigration asked voters how important they considered five factors to be in assessing whether to admit migrants: knowing the national language, having family members in the country already, having a job offer, having good educational qualifications, and being a Christian. Figure 6 charts the proportion of respondents emphasizing each of these qualifications in Britain and other TTI countries. The British, who are more negative

about immigration overall, would also like to apply stricter tests in determining whether to allow migrants in. British respondents emphasize all the economic criteria language, education, and job offers more strongly than respondents in the other TTI countries. While majorities of respondents in all countries agree these factors are important, the British are particularly insistent that migrants must have good economic qualifications. Knowing the national language is the most important of these, with 70% of Britons and 58% of those in other TTI countries regarding this as very important. Having a job offer is the next most important criterion, regarded as very important by 59% of Britons and 46% in the rest of the sample. Surprisingly, educational qualifications rank less highly than job offers and language skills, but they are still regarded as a very important criterion by a significant minority of 34% of British respondents and 21% of those in the other TTI countries. It seems that one consequence of the unusually large migration inflow to Britain is a correspondingly unusually strong desire to ensure that any future migrants have strong economic qualifications. The other two criteria, which are less relevant for economic success, are taken less seriously by respondents, and in these cases, the British show little more interest than respondents elsewhere. Twenty-three percent of Britons (and 18% elsewhere) regard having family members in the country already as very important. Having family members in the country is considered a relevant criterion for around half of Britons, while Christian faith matters to only around a third. How do views about entry criteria break down socially? Figure 7 compares the views of our two key social groups the highly educated, diverse, economically secure cosmopolitan young group and the older, less educated, native British, economically insecure parochial pensioners. We can see there is a degree of consensus on the

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

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Figure 6: Criteria for Letting in Immigrants: Britain vs. other TTI Countries
100 90 Percent of respondents indicating each factor is important 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Britain Other TTI countries Britain Other TTI countries Britain Other TTI countries Britain Other TTI countries Britain Other TTI countries 24 38 30 28 31 29 36 37 14 13 18 21 23 18 70 58 59 46 34 Very important Somewhat important

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Know the national language

Have a family member in country

Have a job offer

Have high educational levels

Be a Christian

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2009 Q9.1-5 (2009); Q8 (2008) N= 1,993 (Britain), 14,973 (other TTI countries)

importance of economic criteria: Over 90% of both groups agree English is at least somewhat important, over 80% of both groups agree job offers are at least somewhat important, and nearly 70% of both groups agree that education is at least somewhat important. The main point of difference is religion while about half of parochial pensioners feel this is an important criterion, less than one in five cosmopolitan young think it is relevant. There is an important difference in emphasis across the board, with parochial pensioners more likely to regard every entry criterion as being very important, suggesting they would like a very selective approach to migration indeed. Despite this difference in emphasis, it is

clear that even the cosmopolitan young, the most liberal group about migration, agree that migration policy should favor highly economically qualified migrants with good language skills and job offers. In this respect, the points-based system introduced by Labour in 2008 and retained by the current Coalition government, which applies precisely such criteria and strongly favors the most qualified migrants, appears to be a policy well designed to reflect popular preferences. Two other pieces of evidence demonstrate that respondents take these entry criteria seriously. In 2009, TTI asked respondents whether they agreed with policies to reduce skilled and unskilled

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Figure 7: Criteria for Letting in Immigrants: Cosmopolitan Young vs. Parochial Pensioners in Britain
100 82 90
Percent of respondents indicating each factor is important

65 48

70 49 30 31

Very important Somewhat important

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Young Pensioners Know the national language Young Pensioners Have a family member in country 26 15 19 30 25

29

34 20

38 32 26 8 9

Young Pensioners Have a job offer

Young Pensioners Have high educational levels

Young Pensioners Be a Christian

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2009 Q9.1-5 (2009); Q8 (2008) N= 1,993

immigration to the country. The results are shown in Figure 8. Majorities of both social groups, in Britain and elsewhere, support policies to reduce unskilled migration. The desire to reduce skilled migration is lower, however, and shows a generational divide. Only 36% of cosmopolitan young voters in Britain favor reducing skilled migration, while 58% of parochial pensioners feel likewise. Overall, less than half of voters support such a policy, suggesting that the current Coalition government efforts to sharply reduce skilled migration may not enjoy strong public support. A second piece of evidence comes from the TTI 2011 survey. Respondents were asked whether they

would support further settlement of immigrants with high and low levels of education. As Figure 9 shows, support for further migration is dramatically affected by the education level of the migrants. Majorities of both cosmopolitan young and parochial pensioners support further admission of highly educated migrants, and British support for such migration is only slightly lower than that found elsewhere. This suggests the current Coalition efforts to reduce student migration are misguided such a policy is likely to have serious

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

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100 90 80 70 60 Percent 50 40 30 20 10 0

Figure 8: Support for Reducing Skilled Immigration and Unskilled Immigration Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners: Britain vs. Other TTI Countries
Reduce skilled immigration Reduce unskilled immigration 66 58 58 50 36 27 47 54

Cosmopolitan Young Britain

Parochial Pensioners

Cosmopolitan Young

Parochial Pensioners

Other TTI countries

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Survey 2009 Q24.3 & Q24.4 N = 953 (Britain), 7,778 (other TTI countries)

economic costs,7 yet voters in fact support allowing more highly educated migrants such as students to come to Britain. Attitudes to migrants with low educational levels are very different. Less than 30% of cosmopolitan young voters in Britain would support further
7 For example, a recent report prepared for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration suggested a direct cost of 100 million from lost fee income alone if the December 2010 proposals to limit entry of non-degree students were fully implemented, with further large indirect costs due to reduced student spending. A Home Office impact assessment conducted in June 2011 suggested a total net cost to the economy from the reforms of around 2.4 billion. See U.K. Border Agency Reform of the points based student immigration system: impact assessment, (2011), http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/ia/reform-students-pbs/.

settlement of such migrants, while less than one in ten parochial pensioners would do so. The difference in the attitudes to educated and uneducated migrants is much larger in Britain than in the other TTI countries, and presents policymakers with a serious challenge. Unskilled migration from outside the EU has already been severely restricted and most remaining low skilled migrants arrive through migration channels such as family reunion and EU migration, which are protected by international treaty and therefore very difficult to limit. Although voters would clearly like further reductions in the settlement of less educated migrants, it is not clear how this could be

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achieved without difficult renegotiation of British international treaty commitments. 3.2 Policy Response: Should Migration be Used to Ease the Burden of an Aging Society on the Welfare State? It is thus clear that the British public has some strong ideas in mind about the kind of migrants it considers desirable: highly qualified English language speakers with job offers. The public view on this is remarkably unanimous. Young cosmopolitan Britons are almost as likely to agree that such criteria are somewhat important in judging whether to allow migrants in as the older, parochial pensioners who are in general much

more skeptical about migration, although the latter emphasize these criteria more strongly. However, these criteria are presented independent of any particular policy problem to which migration may be a solution. Another way of building on our understanding of British migration attitudes is to examine how voters view migrants when they are presented as part of a solution to a difficult policy problem. One such problem is how to support economic growth and maintain the welfare state systems most wealthy societies have set up as their populations age. For example, pro-migration author Phillip Legrain recently observed in an Economist debate on migration that:

100 90 80 70

Figure 9: Support for Admitting More Migrants by Educational Level Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners: Britain vs. Other TTI Countries
Migrants with high educational level Migrants with low educational level

81 70

Percent supporting

60 50 40 30 29 20 10 0 Cosmopolitan Young Britain 7 Parochial Pensioners Cosmopolitan Young Parochial Pensioners 26 53 57

50

Other TTI countries

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Survey 2011 Q6a & Q6b N = 973 (Britain), 4,734 (other TTI countries)

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

17

Without countervailing measures, an aging population and shrinking workforce will lead to permanently slower economic growth, crimping living standards and making it harder to pay for the pensions, health care, and social care of the growing ranks of elderly people, fund the welfare state in general and service the mountains of public debt.... [I]mmigration is part of the solution.8 The recent economic problems faced by Mediterranean countries with low birth rates, generous welfare states, and large public debt, such as Italy and Greece, place this issue into sharp relief. Does the British public, normally skeptical about migration, become more willing to accept it if it helps to support valued welfare state institutions in a time of low economic growth and aging populations? The evidence from the 2010 TTI survey suggests that many respondents do. While only 42% of British respondents offering an opinion agreed with a proposal to raise the retirement age in response to population aging, 48% supported importing immigrant labor to mitigate its effects. Support was even higher for importing migrant labor into specific welfare state sectors: 75% supported importing more doctors to help deal with increased demand for health care, and 53% supported importing elder care workers to ease pressures on the care system. These figures suggest much higher support for migration targeted to support the welfare state than for migration generally, leading one to believe that when migration is presented as a solution to a pressing social problem such as population aging, British people become much more willing to support it. This in turn suggests that questions that ask about immigration levels without providing any relevant policy context may overstate the strength of British public opposition to migration. An instinctive no to migrants may become a qualified yes when the
8 Legrain, P. Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them, London: Little, Brown (2007).

benefits of migration, and the costs of restricting it, are laid out clearly. We may expect migration to offset population aging to be one area where the divide between the pro-migration cosmopolitan young and the antimigration parochial pensioners should be less obvious, as both groups have incentives to support such targeted migration. Older, poorer Britons, who as we have seen are normally opposed to migration, might be expected to make an exception in this case out of economic self-interest, as they are the most likely to use welfare state services such as health and social care. The cosmopolitan young, who face the biggest future economic burden from population aging, should be more likely to support bringing in migrants to help limit such costs. Figure 10 investigates the social breakdown of support for these policies, in Britain and the other TTI countries. The overall story from the figure echoes the patterns we identified elsewhere greater support for migration among the cosmopolitan young, and lower support among the parochial pensioners. Poorer and older Britons are most opposed to migration to offset population aging, even though they are the most likely to benefit from such migration. It seems that anxiety about the broader effects of migrants coming in trumps any perception of the benefits from shoring up the welfare state for these respondents. The chart also reveals an interesting difference between medical migration and the other kinds asked about. There is a strong consensus in favor of allowing doctors to immigrate in both Britain and the other TTI countries, with 65% or more from both groups supporting this form of migration. Support for the settlement of care workers or general immigrant labor is more socially polarized in Britain. While large majorities of the British cosmopolitan young favor allowing the import of care workers (79%) and general immigrant labor (63%), most parochial pensioners oppose both

18

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

100 90 80 70 60
Percent

Figure 10: Support for Immigration to Offset the Effects of an Aging Society Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners: Britain vs. Other TTI Countries
Strongly support 28 24 20 16 17 47 5 31 48 36 53 15 22 17 Somewhat support

62

21 15

50 40 30 20 10 0 Young Pens. Young

50

51 43 8 37 44

40

Pens.

Young

Pens.

Young

Pens.

Young

Pens.

Young

Pens.

Britain

Other TTI countries Immigration to offset aging

Britain

Other TTI countries Immigration of doctors

Britain

Other TTI countries Immigration of care workers

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Survey 2010 Q23.1-2; Q24a-b, British N = 952 (immigration to offset aging); 480 (doctors and care workers); Other TTI N = 8,566 (immigration to offset aging), 4,410 (doctors and care workers)

forms of migration. This split is not observed in other TTI countries, suggesting as before that there are particularly strong social divisions over migration in Britain. While young Britons support a pragmatic approach to immigration as a solution to the problems presented by an aging society, older Britons staunchly oppose this solution outside of

health care despite standing to benefit from it. This social polarization is likely to present problems for policymakers, who may desire to make use of migration to maintain welfare state services but face difficulties persuading their poorer, older citizens about such a policy.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

19

4
W

Legal and Illegal Immigration: Public Concern and Policy Response


groups worried about legal and illegal migration, both in Britain and in the other countries surveyed by TTI. Three key points emerge from this graph. First, concern about illegal immigration far outstrips concern about legal immigration in both social groups: while large majorities of both cosmopolitan young and parochial pensioner respondents in Britain express concern about illegal immigration, only 44% of parochial pensioners and 24% of the cosmopolitan young express any concern about legal migration. This calls into question the wisdom of the current governments efforts to dramatically cut overall migration levels, as it is clear that most voters are not particularly concerned about legal migration, which is the focus of such policies. Second, we can once again see the important divisions in attitude between parochial pensioners and the cosmopolitan young levels of concern among older, parochial voters are consistently 20 to 30 points higher than among their younger, more diverse compatriots. Thirdly, we can also once again see that British anxieties about both forms of immigration are much higher than the other countries in the TTI sample around 10 to 20 percentage points higher in each case. There is one exception to this parochial pensioners elsewhere in the TTI sample are as anxious about illegal immigration as similar voters in Britain, with over 70% expressing anxiety in both cases. Concerns about a loss of legal control over the migration system seem to be very intense among older, less educated voters throughout the developed world. Policy Responses I: Reducing Illegal Immigration The TTI evidence makes clear that British citizens are very concerned about illegal immigration, much more so than about the legal migration that has so far formed the focus of government policy. What sort of policies do the British endorse to reduce illegal migration? Between 2008 and

hile the initial analysis of overall immigration assessments revealed that negative views of immigration are widespread in Britain, the more detailed analyses of views about whether to let in particular subsets of migrants reveals a more nuanced view. British voters emphasize the importance of education, language skills, and job offers in deciding whether to let migrants in, and are much more supportive of settlement by migrants who meet these criteria. The points-based approach to immigration highlighted by the previous Labour government is very much in line with public opinion, as it encourages settlement by precisely the kind of immigrants the public support letting into the country. We have also seen that British respondents are much more supportive of migration targeted at the welfare state than they are of migration in general, although attitudes about this specific group are socially polarized in a similar fashion to attitudes about migrations general impact.

Debates over migration controls tend to focus on reforms to the existing legal framework, but much migration falls outside of this framework. Many migrants arrive in Western countries illegally, or remain illegally after overstaying an initial legal visa. Recent research suggests that views of legal and illegal immigration are very different, with illegal migration being a much more intense source of public concern.9 If this is so, then policies focusing on tightening up legal regulations and limiting settlement through legal channels are misguided, as such legal migration may not be the main source of public concern. In this section, we consider public reactions to legal and illegal migration, and possible policy responses to these. We start by examining public anxiety about legal and illegal migration. Figure 11 charts the proportion of respondents from our two key social
9

Blinder 2011.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

21

100 90 80 70 Percent worried 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Legal 24

Figure 11: Worry about Legal and Illegal Immigration Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners: Britain vs. Other TTI Countries
Cosmopolitan young Parochial pensioners 72

75

57 44

41 27 15

Illegal Britain

Legal

Illegal Other TTI countries

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2011 Q6 (2008-10); Q4 (2011) N = 4,003 (Britain), 26,042 (other TTI countries)

2010, TTI asked respondents whether they would support four policies designed to reduce illegal immigration: tougher penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants; reinforced border controls; increased development aid to the countries illegal immigrants migrate from; and making it easier for migrants to work and study legally. The first two of these can be thought of as enforcement approaches to the problem focusing on stricter application of existing migration law while the latter are both assistance approaches focusing on assisting those who opt to migrate legally, either in the destination country through reforms to migration law or in the source countries by dealing with the poverty driving people to illegally

migrate. Factor analysis a technique that tests whether attitudes are associated with each other confirmed that the pairs of enforcement and assistance attitudes tend to run together, suggesting they are indeed viewed as distinct approaches to the illegal immigration problem.10 Support for the two different approaches to dealing with illegal immigration are distributed very differently through British society, as illustrated in Figure 12. There is something close
10

Factor analysis tests whether individual items tend to correlate together, suggesting that a common factor predicts much of the variation in responses. In this case, the factor analysis predicted two common factors one enforcement factor and one assistance factor.

22

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

100 90 80 70 89

Figure 12: Support for Enforcement Policies and Assistance Policies to Reduce Illegal Immigration Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners in Britain
94 87 80 75 Cosmopolitan young Parochial pensioners

Percent supporting

60 59 50 40 30 20 10 0 Reinforce borders Punish employers Increase development aid Make easier to migrate legally Assistance policies

40 35

Enforcement policies

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2010 Q13a1-4 (2010); Q16.1-4 (2009); Q11 (2008) N = 2,849

to a national consensus that enforcement policies such as tougher border controls and penalties on employers are effective policies to reduce illegal immigration more than 80% of both parochial pensioners and the cosmopolitan young support these policies. However, views of assistance policies are very different support for these is much lower on average and is concentrated among the cosmopolitan groups the highly educated, the young and those with migrant heritage.11 While parochial pensioners prefer to focus solely on enforcing the law, cosmopolitan young Britons
11

favor an approach that, to paraphrase former Prime Minister Tony Blair, is tough on illegal immigration and tough on the causes of illegal immigration. While they strongly support tougher enforcement measures, they also want to see such tough policies complemented by greater assistance to those driven to migrate illegally, both within Britain and in their countries of origin. Figures 13a and b show how British policy preferences compare with those in other TTI countries. In the first chart we show the distribution of support for the two enforcement policy options. While British support for these options is unusually intense only the Italians

Regression analysis confirms that all three of these factors are independently associated with higher support for assistance policies.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

23

100 90 80 70 92

Figure 13a: Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy Preferences by Country: Support for Border Reinforcement and Action Against Employers who Hire Illegal Immigrants
89 89 84 76 68 58 78 93 87 78 86 76 86 77

86

Percent supporting

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Great Britain

Border reinforcement Action against employers who hire illegal immigrants Germany France Italy Netherlands Spain United States Canada

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2010 Q13a1-4 (2010); Q16.1-4 (2009); Q11 (2008), N = 18,423

100 90 80 70

Figure 13b: Illegal Immigration Assistance Policy Preferences by Country: Support for Increasing Development Aid and Making Legal Migration Easier
Increasing development aid Making legal migration easier 81 85 74 82 76 72 61 56 51 45 49 48 61

77

Percent supporting

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Great Britain 56

63

Germany

France

Italy

Netherlands

Spain

United States

Canada

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2010 Q13a1-4 (2010); Q16.1-4 (2009); Q11 (2008), N = 18,423

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The German Marshall Fund of the United States

match Britains 90% level of support for both policies most other countries also show strong public backing for get tough approaches to illegal immigration. Support for border reinforcement ranges from lows of 58% and 68% in Germany and the Netherlands, which are relatively difficult to reach from developing countries, to over 85% in Spain, Italy, and the United States, all of which have long land or sea borders close to very poor neighbors. In this respect, the high support for tough policies in Britain and Canada is unusual, as neither country has serious problems with an insecure border. Support for tough action on employers is strong throughout the TTI sample it is above 75% in all countries, ranging from a low of 76% in the United States to a high of 93% in Italy. When we turn to assistance policies, we find the opposite pattern. The British are among the least enthusiastic about both increases in development aid which their government is currently committed to and reforms to make legal migration easier. On both assistance policy options, the TTI countries fall into two groups: skeptics and enthusiasts. In the skeptical countries Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States support for development aid runs at between 48% and 56% and support for making migration easier runs between 45% and 63%, with Britain showing the lowest support of all. In the enthusiast countries France, Italy, and Spain support for more development aid runs between 77% and 85%.12 It is notable that all three of the enthusiast countries have Mediterranean coastlines, and have in recent years received large inflows from poor North African countries with unstable political regimes and young, impoverished populations. The value of investing development aid abroad, and
12

adopting more liberal migration settlement regimes to regularize illegal migrants, may be more obvious in such countries, given the difficulty in preventing illegal migrants from entering via long, hard-topolice coastal borders.13 By contrast, only one of the skeptical countries the United States has a long border with an impoverished neighbor. Policy Responses II: Restricting Immigrant Access to Public Services We have examined one set of policy responses to illegal migration, namely methods for reducing the number of migrants coming, and found universal support for an enforcement approach but social division over the merits of accompanying this with an assistance approach. Another dimension to the debate over illegal, and legal, migration concerns whether migrants who have already settled in a host country should be able to use government services. The issue of migrant access to the welfare state has been a hotly debated one in Britain, with regular campaigns run in right wing newspapers attacking government spending on immigrants, and claiming that much migration is driven by a desire to exploit the allegedly generous welfare provision of soft touch Britain.14 Council (public) housing is a particularly sensitive issue. Despite restrictions on recent migrants taking council housing, and evidence consistently showing they are underrepresented in such housing relative to their share

13

However, it must be admitted that respondents enthusiasm for development aid in these countries is not always reflected in national budgets, according to OECD figures. Spain and France give a similar portion of their Gross National Income to what Britain does (in 2009: U.K. 0.52%, France 0.47%, Spain 0.46%) while Italy has one of the smallest development aid budgets in the developed world (0.16% of GNI). A search using the keywords soft touch Britain immigration on the website of the Daily Mail a large circulation right wing tabloid returned over 2,000 results. Many of the articles returned emphasize the generosity of Britains welfare provisions as an explanation for high migration to Britain.

Canadians are unusual in showing high support for making migration easier, but relatively low support for development aid. The former may reflect the greater support for liberal migration rules generally in Canada, although it is not clear why Canadians are skeptical about the value of development aid.

14

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

25

in the population,15 polling shows a widespread belief that immigrants jump the queue, getting favorable access to such housing.16 Facing a tough challenge from the British National Party, who campaigned heavily on the issue in her inner London constituency, where housing shortages are acute, Labour MP Margaret Hodge argued in 2007 that native born residents should get preference over migrants. Polling after the argument showed large majorities agreed with her.17 However, denying welfare state benefits to migrants is a policy with potentially serious social consequences, placing immigrants at greater risk of poverty and social marginalization. Given these heated, high-stakes debates, it is important to get the best understanding of British views about extending benefit provision to noncitizens, and compare these to other countries where the issue has been less prominent and divisive. TTI asked about three specific areas of welfare state provision state schooling,

council housing, and health care.18 In each case, people were asked whether the benefit should be for citizens only, citizens and legal migrants, or all residents, including illegal immigrants. We combined the answers into two scales, indicating the number of benefits respondents would refuse to legal immigrants and illegal immigrants. Figure 14 shows the distribution of responses. The palest bars on the left refer to the proportion of respondents who would not refuse access to any of the three services asked about, then as the bars get darker moving from left to right this reflects progressively more restrictive attitudes, with respondents opposing provision of one, two, or all three welfare services. The chart shows a dramatic difference in British support for benefit provision to legal and illegal migrants. The two graphs are almost mirror images of each other: around six in ten British respondents support providing all state benefits to legal immigrants, while a similar proportion (65%) would deny all benefits to illegal migrants. Even those who favor some access to welfare state benefits for illegal migration generally expect some restrictions to this access: only one voter in twenty supported providing all three benefits to illegal immigrants. British voters are more comfortable with legal migrants having access to the welfare state, but a large minority over 40% would also deny them at least one of the benefits asked about, and 16% deny them access to all benefits. Any policymaker looking to defend the provision of basic services to migrants thus faces an uphill struggle, as large sections of the public believe that British public services should be for British citizens only.

15

A recent review for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (Rutter, J. and M. Latorre. Social Housing Allocation and Immigrant Communities, London: EHCR (2009), http://www. equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/4_social_housing_ allocation_and_immigrant_communities.pdf) noted that most categories of migrants are not eligible for social housing, but that discretionary decisions by the U.K. Border Agency to house asylum applicants in vacant social housing may have helped fuel perceptions that they were jumping the queue. The report also noted that the share of social housing occupied by migrants is extremely low, and that virtually all migrant groups show lower take-up of social housing than the native born population. A YouGov poll conducted in 2009 revealed that 57% agreed with the statement Councils allow immigrants to jump the housing queue. A Populus poll conducted soon after Hodges comments revealed that 69% agreed that British citizens should always get priority for social housing, ahead of immigrant families. However, 75% also agreed that newly arrived migrant families who work and pay taxes are entitled to the same help from the state as everyone else, suggesting considerable internal conflict in attitudes.

16

17

18

Random halves of the sample were asked about emergency health care and general health care. Respondents were somewhat more generous concerning emergency health care, but for simplicity we aggregate the responses here. Separating them out does not influence the overall pattern of results.

26

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

80 70 60

Figure 14: Number of Welfare Services (State Schooling, Council Housing, Healthcare) Britons would Refuse to Legal and Illegal Immigrants
Refuse no services Refuse one service 59 Refuse two services Refuse three services 65

50

Percent

40 30 20 10 0 Legal immigrants 15 10 5 Illegal immigrants 16 10

20

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Survey 2010 Q13.1-2 & Q14a-b N = 949

Regression analysis confirms that the familiar factors of education, economic security, and migrant heritage are most significantly associated with the willingness to provide benefits to both legal and illegal migrants.19 The combined effects of these factors are illustrated in Figure 15 below, which compares the patterns of support for provision of each welfare policy among the cosmopolitan young and parochial pensioners. The chart reveals a strong consensus among both groups that illegal immigrants should be refused access to state schooling and council housing, with over 90% of both groups agreeing that council housing should be refused to such migrants, and over 75% of both agreeing that state schooling
19

should be refused. There is more division over health care, with 75% of parochial pensioners agreeing that such benefits should be refused, but only 53% of the cosmopolitan young taking the same view. Providing benefits to legal migrants is more divisive. While less than 15% of the cosmopolitan young would refuse state schooling or health care to legal migrants, around 30% of parochial pensioners would do so. On council housing, opposition is higher for both groups, but the division between them is also larger 28% of the cosmopolitan young would refuse this benefit to legal migrants, but around half of parochial pensioners would do so. The British thus have a very restrictive view of their welfare state, with many respondents regarding it as a privilege which should be reserved for national citizens only. How does this compare with

All three of these factors once again have a statistically significant effect on attitudes in a regression model of support for provision of each individual benefit, and of all benefits combined in a scale. This holds true for legal and illegal migration.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

27

100 90 80 70 Percent agreeing 60 50

Figure 15: Agreement that Welfare Benefits Should be Refused to Legal Immigrants and Illegal Immigrants Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners in Britain
96 87 76 91 Refuse to legal immigrants Refuse to illegal immigrants

75

49 40 30 29 20 10 0 Cosmopolitan Parochial Young Pensioners State schooling Cosmopolitan Parochial Young Pensioners Council housing 13 28 14

53

31

Cosmopolitan Parochial Young Pensioners Healthcare

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Survey 2010 Q13.1-2 & Q14a-b N = 984

attitudes in other countries? The other TTI sample countries were not asked about the provision of state housing, so we create a reduced scale from the two items concerning access to health care and public schooling. The scale thus has three scores respondents can either favor providing both services, one service, or no service to immigrants. Figures 16a and b show the results for legal and illegal immigrants in each TTI country compared with Britain. In both cases it is clear that the British are unusually restrictive in their views of welfare provision to migrants, particularly compared to other European migrant-receiving countries. In Figure 16a, we can see that while two-thirds of

Britons oppose providing both public services to migrants, the proportion in other European countries is between 20 and 30%. North Americans are a bit tougher, with over 45% of both Canadians and Americans favoring refusal of both public services to illegal migrants, but even these countries are much more open than the British. In Figure 16b, we see that British views about legal migrants access to welfare state services are even more distinctive. While three out of ten Britons would refuse at least one service to legal migrants, in other European countries, there is total consensus that such services should be provided to such migrants: in no other European country

28

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

80 70 60 50 40 65

Figure 16a: Agreement by Country that Healthcare and/or Public Schooling Should be Refused to Illegal Immigrants
Refuse both services Refuse one service

Percent agreeing

46 38

49

30 20 10 0 Great Britain Germany France Italy 26 21 28 23 24 20 27

34

31 25 26 25

Netherlands

Spain

United States

Canada

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Survey 2010 Q13.1-2 & Q14a-b N = 8,780

25

Figure 16b: Agreement by Country that Healthcare and/or Public Schooling Should be Refused to Legal Immigrants
Refuse both services

20

Refuse one service

Percent agreeing

15

16

10

12 10 9 7

5 3 0 Great Britain 1 Germany 4 2 France 1 2 1 Netherlands 4 2 Spain United States Canada 4 4

Italy

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Survey 2010 Q13.1-2 & Q14a-b N = 8,814

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

29

do more than 6% of respondents favor restricting access to either service. In Canada, 11% do so, while in the United States, with its more limited welfare safety net, the proportion rises to nearly 20%. However, even the Americans, famously skeptical about state welfare, are more open to extending welfare services to legal migrants than Britons. While it is not possible to test the influence of the media using the TTI dataset, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that the regular and strident campaigns in the British press about the allegedly generous welfare benefits received by migrants may have contributed to the unusually restrictive

attitudes identified here.20 These media campaigns, which are much more frequent and negative than in most other TTI countries, may be depressing public support for welfare provision to migrants in Britain.

20

Academic research examining a large sample of European countries has found that voters are more likely to blame immigrants for social problems in countries with high profile political campaigns linking migrants to negative social outcomes. See Ivarsflaten, E. Threatened by Diversity: Why Restrictive Asylum and Immigration Policies Appeal to Voters in Western Europe, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties 15, no. 1 (2005): 21-45. The campaigns in the British media may have a similar effect.

30

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

5
I

Integrating Settled Immigrants: Perceptions and Policies


North Americans, but more positive than those in Germany, home to Europes largest Muslim population. Britons gave similar answers to those in France and the Netherlands, which is encouraging as recent migration to Britain has been much higher than to those countries. The British also gave quite positive responses about the integration of second generation migrants 72% regarded them as integrating well, and 67% were similarly positive about second generation Muslims. The British were more positive on these items than other large European countries with significant second generation immigrant populations, such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands, though less positive once again than the respondents in Canada and the United States. How do perceptions of migrant integration break down socially? We conducted a regression analysis on all four factors and discovered that the social polarization around age and education that we have observed in many of the other immigration attitudes is much weaker here. We do observe differences in opinion over the integration of first generation immigrants as a general group and over the integration of second generation immigrants, whether they are Muslim or not, but these are entirely the product of migrant heritage. Those who are migrants, or whose parents were migrants, are much more positive about migrant integration into British society, suggesting they are drawing positive judgments from their own direct experiences. However, among those born in Britain to Britishborn parents, there appears to be relatively widespread agreement about the degree to which immigrants are integrating in society, with the exception of first generation Muslim immigrants. Parochial pensioners regard this last group as posing a particularly serious integration problem, while young cosmopolitans do not regard Muslims as posing any more problems than immigrants generally.

5.1: Perceptions about the Integration of First and Second Generation Immigrants

n the previous sections of this report, we have examined British public opinions about newly settled migrants questions such as who to let in, what services to provide to them, and whether they have a negative or positive impact. However, many of those who have come to Britain during the great migration wave of the past decade are likely to stay for the long term. How to integrate these long-term migrants into British society is therefore a pressing and contentious issue, which reaches beyond the short-term issue of who to let in and on what terms. Integration debates have become more politically salient, for two reasons. First, the acceleration in the migration settlement rate has raised concerns that the inflow of migrants to Britain is too rapid to enable proper integration. Secondly, following riots and terror attacks in the early 2000s, concerns have risen that certain established immigrant communities, particularly those originally from Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, were, in Ted Cantles words, leading parallel lives, segregated from the rest of British society.21 As in the previous sections, we examine public perceptions of the integration situation, and views about policy responses. In 2010 and 2011, the TTI survey asked one random half of their interviewees to rate how well first and second generation immigrants were integrating into society, and the other half how well first and second generation Muslim immigrants were integrating. British respondents were on the whole somewhat negative about the integration of first generation immigrants 54% of the combined sample said they were integrating poorly but were no more negative about first generation Muslim migrants than migrants in general. British attitudes were more negative than
21

Cantle, T. Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team, London: Home Office (2001).

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

31

80 70 60

Figure 17a: Agreement that Immigrants and Muslim Immigrants are Integrating Well Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners: Britain vs. Other TTI Countries
Immigrants are integrating well 61 57 53 49 Muslim immigrants are integrating well

59

Percent agreeing

50 40

38 30 20 10 0 Cosmopolitan Young Britain Parochial Pensioners Cosmopolitan Young Parochial Pensioners 31 32

Other TTI countries

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2010-2011 Q29a-b (2010); Q30a-b (2011) N = 900 (Britain), 5,625 (other TTI countries)

100

Figure 17b: Agreement that the Children of Immigrants and Children of Muslim Immigrants are Integrating Well Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners: Britain vs. Other TTI Countries
Children of immigrants are integrating well

80

81 70 68 60

77 69

Children of Muslim immigrants are integrating well 68 56

Percent agreeing

60

40

20

0 Cosmopolitan Young Britain Parochial Pensioners Cosmopolitan Young Parochial Pensioners

Other TTI countries

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2010-2011 Q29a-b (2010); Q30a-b (2011) N = 900 (Britain), 5,625 (other TTI countries)

32

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

5.2 Integration: Policy Responses We have seen that concern that migrants may not be integrating well into British society is widespread, with the majority of British respondents feeling that first generation migrants are not integrating well. What policies do British voters favor to encourage integration? In 2008, Transatlantic Trends Immigration asked respondents to rate their support for five different policies to aid the integration of legal migrants: 1) providing free English classes, 2) banning labor market discrimination, 3) guaranteeing legal migrants the same political rights as British citizens, 4) promoting the teaching of mutual respect in schools, and 5) guaranteeing access to the

same social benefits as British citizens. Figure 18 charts support for these policies among our two key social groups in Britain and in the other countries surveyed by TTI. The graph indicates some integration policies attract strong support from both social groups, with around 90% of both supporting teaching mutual respect in schools, over 70% supporting the provision of English language lessons to migrants, and over 60% supporting bans on discrimination. The other two policies are a little more divisive. While 71% of the cosmopolitan young would give full political rights to settled migrants, only 51% of parochial pensioners agree with this idea, and

Figure 18: Support for Policies to Encourage the Integration of Legal Migrants Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners in Britain
100 90 80
Percent of respondents supporting each approach

75 62 45 36 21 54 33

66

Strongly support Somewhat support

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 18

28

17 38 28 27 28 30 23 17 35 26

Young Pensioners Provide English classes

Young Pensioners Ban job discrimination

Young Pensioners Provide full political rights

Young Pensioners Teach respect in schools

Young Pensioners Provide access to benefits

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2009 Q12 (2008); Q18 (2009) N=1,936

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

33

they are notably less enthusiastic about it. A large majority of the cosmopolitan young 63% would also provide settled legal migrants with full access to benefits, while only 43% of parochial pensioners would be willing to do so. We once again see evidence of a social divide in reactions to immigrants while the cosmopolitan young are keen to pursue generous and inclusive citizenship and social policies to help integrate migrants, parochial pensioners are lukewarm about this idea. However, one further cautionary piece of evidence is worth noting: although large majorities of British favor English lessons to help integrate migrants, they do not want to pay for them. When asked whether the government should provide such

lessons at the taxpayers expense, 74% oppose this. Once again we see a generational divide on this issue, with 88% of parochial pensioners against, but even the cosmopolitan young are negative about this idea, with 64% opposing. We examined the five integration policy attitudes using factor analysis to see if there was evidence for any pattern to public responses. The analysis suggested that responses to all the items tend to move together. In other words, TTI respondents tend to view integration policy options along a single dimension they are either activist, strongly supporting multiple different policy interventions, or laissez-faire, showing less

Figure 19: Number of Integration Policies Supported Among Cosmopolitan Young and Parochial Pensioners: Britain vs. Other TTI Countries
80 70 60 50 Percent 40 30 20 10 0 Cosmopolitan Young Britain Parochial Pensioners Cosmopolitan Young Parochial Pensioners 25 23 25 16 Support three policies or less 61 52 44 40 31 23 31 29 Support four policies Support all five policies

Other TTI countries

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2009 Q12 (2008); Q18 (2009) N = 1,936 (Britain), 12,719 (other TTI countries)

34

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

enthusiasm for all of the policy proposals. We therefore created a scale showing how many different integration policies respondents supported, providing a general indication of how activist an integration policy different groups desired. The pattern of responses is plotted in Figure 19. The figure shows a large difference between the views of the cosmopolitan young and parochial pensioners in support for more active integration policies, although in this case, regression analysis suggests the difference is the result of education and migrant heritage, rather than age differences. The highly educated, diverse cosmopolitan young

favor a much more activist integration policy. It is also worth noting that the British are rather less supportive of an activist integration policy than the other TTI countries, despite being more anxious about migration. Indeed, when we conducted further regression analysis, we found a strong negative relationship between concerns about immigration and support for integration policies: those who are most negative about the impact of immigration are also the least willing to support policies to integrate immigrants into society, as shown in Figure 20. It is not clear why this might be we might expect those worried about the magnitude of immigration to be most keen to ensure that migrants integrate into British society.

80 70 60 50 Percent 40 30

Figure 20: Number of Integration Policies Supported by Those Who Feel Immigration Is Not Too High and Those Who Feel Immigration Is Too High: Britain vs. Other TTI Countries
Support three policies or less Support four policies 56 47 40 34 29 25 15 24 18 26 26 Support all five policies

60

20 10 0

Immigration not too high Britain

Immigration too high

Immigration not too high

Immigration too high Other TTI countries

Source: Transatlantic Trends Immigration Surveys 2008-2009 Q12 (2008); Q18 (2009) N = 859 (Britain), 5,502 (other TTI countries)

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

35

It may be that those anxious about migration worry that the costs of implementing these policies on a large migrant population would be too high, or that activist integration policies that help migrants prosper in British society would only encourage further migration to Britain.

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6
I

Conclusion

n this paper, we have sought to look beyond the headline public opinion figures to gain a more nuanced understanding of British public attitudes about immigration. This analysis has yielded several important findings. Firstly, while the results have confirmed that the British are more negative about immigration than the other countries surveyed by TTI, they are also more strongly divided. Age, education, economic security, and migrant heritage all strongly predict views about immigration and immigrants in TTI countries, but the effects are stronger in Britain than elsewhere. These factors also all overlap; in particular the last three are all related to age. Younger Britons are more educated, more economically secure, and more likely to have migrant heritage than their elders. The result is a generational divide over immigration, with older generations much more hostile about immigration than younger cohorts. Such a divide has also been found in racial attitudes,22 in earlier data on attitudes to migrants from different regions of the world,23 and in national identity and national pride.24 The findings in this study thus fit with a growing body of research suggesting that British reactions to migration and diversity are in part driven by the very different circumstances in which different generations grew up. Older Britons grew up in an ethnically homogenous, immobile, pre-migration Britain and regard the influx of migrants from around the world as a threatening development. They are less likely to accept that migrants or their children can be British in the way they are British. Younger generations have grown up with diversity, are more likely to have friends or
22 Ford, R. Is racial prejudice declining in Britain? British Journal of Sociology 59, no. 4 (2008): 609-636. 23 Ford, R. Acceptable and unacceptable immigrants: the ethnic hierarchy in British immigration preferences, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37, no. 7 (2011): 1017-1037. 24 Tilley, J., Heath, A. and S. Exley. Dimensions of British identity, in British Social Attitudes: The 21st Report, edited by Alison Park et al. London: Sage, 2006.

colleagues with migrant heritage, or to have such heritage themselves, and frequently move across borders. They are less likely to regard immigration as threatening and are more willing to consider its benefits. These generational divisions over immigration present policymakers with a difficult dilemma. On the one hand, older Britons are more politically engaged and more likely to vote, and so tough migration policies may make sense as a response to the concerns of current voters. On the other hand, the process of generational replacement is likely to gradually shift attitudes in a more cosmopolitan direction, and overly harsh migration policies risk alienating the younger, more cosmopolitan citizens entering the electorate. The strong allegiance of second generation black and Asian British voters to the Labour party reflects in part the enduring hostility towards the Conservatives among such voters, whose parents well remember the hostile rhetoric deployed against them by politicians such as Enoch Powell and Margaret Thatcher. A second key finding is that the British public is not hostile to all forms of migration, but are much more positive about migrants who are well qualified to contribute to the economy generally or to specific sectors such as the welfare state. The key lesson policymakers can draw from this is that the public is not as inflexibly intolerant towards migrants as polling focused on the overall impact of migration may suggest. British voters tend to have a kneejerk negative response to migration in the abstract, but much more nuanced views of migration when it is placed in the context of real policy debates. Targeted migration policies such as Labours points system or recruitment to specific sectors with high demand are likely to enjoy much higher public support. Efforts to impose a blanket limit on migration levels, such as the current governments commitment to reduce net migration below 100,000, look misguided, as they require sharp

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

37

and economically costly reductions to migration by groups such as the highly skilled and students, whose settlement does not concern British citizens much. It might be better for government to focus on making the positive case for the economic benefit of particular migrant streams, and demonstrate progress in controlling the forms of migration that concern Britons more intensely. One such group is illegal immigrants. Our analysis shows that the British public is much more concerned about illegal than legal migration, although there are deep generational divisions in reactions to both groups. Respondents are quite unanimous in favoring stronger enforcement policies to deal with illegal migration, but are divided over the use of assistance policies. The latter policies are favored by younger, more cosmopolitan voters but regarded with suspicion by the more parochial older generations. British respondents strongly, and universally, oppose providing welfare benefits to illegal migrants, but are deeply divided over providing welfare benefits to legal migrants. The British are much less willing to extend welfare benefits to migrants than respondents in any of the other countries surveyed by TTI, even the United States, which has a traditionally minimalist approach to welfare. One key implication for policymakers is that the need to convince voters that they have credible policies to deal with illegal immigration is much more urgent than the need to impose controls on legal migration. However, this may be difficult to do in practice, as reliable information on illegal immigration is difficult to obtain. A second key point for policymakers to consider is that frequent media scare stories about immigrants abusing the welfare state are contributing to very hostile views about welfare provision to migrants. These stories have little basis in evidence, which consistently shows lower use of welfare services by migrants than other groups.

Our analysis also considered the longer term issue of integrating immigrants into British society. The British public is divided about whether first generation migrants, in particular Muslim migrants, are integrating well but are much more positive about the second generation British-born children of migrants. The widespread elite concern over the perceived failure of Muslim minorities to integrate is not reflected in public opinion large majorities of Britons feel that the Muslim second generation is integrating well, and a majority of younger more cosmopolitan Britons think first generation Muslims are making good progress as well. There is also a good deal of consensus about this judgment age and education, which are consistently significant predictors of other immigration attitudes, have little impact here. The main predictor is migrant heritage migrants and their descendents are much more positive about progress on integration. This leads to a generational divide, but largely because migrant heritage is much more common among young Britons. In terms of policy responses, we find solid support for several integration policy options language lessons, discrimination bans, and teaching respect but divided opinion over extending political rights and access to welfare benefits. We also find that the British respondents who are most concerned about high immigration levels are the least willing to support more active integration policies. One optimistic lesson policymakers can draw from these findings is that the British public is remarkably positive about the integration of migrant children into mainstream society indeed, this is one of the few areas in our study where we found the British to be more positive than the TTI average. A second optimistic lesson is Britons with migrant heritage are particularly positive about integration, suggesting that they believe themselves to be part of the British mainstream.

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The overall picture suggested by this analysis is more nuanced than that painted in much reporting about immigration. Although this is an issue of intense concern to the British public, the evidence suggests that voters recognize the complexity of the issues. Their concern is not to halt migration entirely, but to ensure that a legal framework to control it is in place and properly enforced, and that

this legal framework ensures that the migrants who do come are those who will most benefit the British economy. The key challenge ahead is bridging the divide between younger, cosmopolitan Britons who have embraced diversity and mobility across borders and older, more parochial generations who regard migration as a threat to traditions and values they hold dear.

Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain

39

7
Intercept 2009 survey Gender: male 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64

Appendix

Table A1: Logistic Regression Analysis of Regarding Immigration as More of a Problem than an Opportunity Imm more a problem: Britain
2.21*** 0.13 -0.22* -1.18*** -0.42* -0.54** -0.44** -0.28 -0.05 -0.78*** -1.59*** -0.21 -0.60** -0.91*** -0.15 0.32* -0.03 0.21 -0.12** -0.38* 0.10 2779

Imm more a problem: rest of sample


0.97*** 0.08* -0.15** -0.47*** -0.36*** -0.18** -0.23*** -0.17** -0.25*** -0.63*** -1.03*** -0.07 -0.20** -0.53*** -0.18*** -0.11* 0.08 0.08 -0.18*** * -0.17** 0.01 0.25*** 0.39*** 0.67*** -1.00*** 0.08 17602

Age (reference: 65 plus)

Education (reference: below high school) High school Degree Postgrad Migrant status (reference: native) Born abroad One parent born abroad Both parents born abroad Living area (reference: small city) Big city Big city suburb Village Rural Household financial situation (1-5 scale, higher scores = worse) Scotland Country dummies (reference: Netherlands) Germany France Italy Spain United States Canada R squared

N
Notes: * p value < 0.10; ** p value < 0.05; *** p value < 0.01 on coefficients

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Table A2: Logistic Regression Analysis of Regarding Immigration as One of the Two Most Important Problems Facing the Country Imm most important problem: Britain
Intercept 2009 survey Gender: male Age (reference: 65 plus) 18-24 -0.38* -0.16 -0.35* -0.21 -0.17 -0.21 -0.72*** -1.54*** -0.49*** -0.09 0.03 -0.12 0.17 -0.12** -0.59*** 0.05 2962 -0.05 -0.10 -0.08 -0.12 -0.13* -0.09 -0.40*** -0.51*** 0.02 0.001 0.03 -0.05 0.08 0.02 0.31** 0.26** 1.07*** 0.44** 0.69*** 0.07 0.03 19806 0.17 -0.02 0.31***

Imm most important problem: rest of sample


-2.18*** 0.25*** 0.21***

25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64


Education (reference: below high school) High school Degree Postgrad Migrant status (reference: native) Self or parent born abroad Living area (reference: small city) Big city Big city suburb Village

Rural Household financial situation (1-5 scale, higher scores = worse)


Scotland Country dummies (reference: Netherlands) Germany France Italy Spain United States Canada R squared

N
Notes: * p value < 0.10; ** p value < 0.05; *** p value < 0.01 on coefficients

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The German Marshall Fund of the United States

Table A3: Regression Analysis of Opposition to Providing Welfare Services to Legal and Illegal Immigrants, British Sample Only Number of services refused to legal migrants
Intercept Gender: male Age (reference: 65 plus) Under 35 35-44 45-54 55-64 Education (reference: below high school) High school Degree Postgrad Migrant status (reference: native) Self or parent born abroad Household financial situation R squared N
Notes: * p value < 0.10; ** p value < 0.05; *** p value < 0.01 on coefficients

Number of services refused to illegal migrants


2.69*** 0.17** -0.09 -0.02 0.01 0.08 -0.03 -0.17* -0.48*** -0.30*** -0.07* 0.06 938

1.33*** 0.16* 0.12 -0.25* 0.01 -0.06 -0.15 -0.47*** -0.69*** -0.36*** -0.10** 0.08 945

(1-5 scale, higher scores = worse)

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43

Table A4: Regression Analysis of Views about Integration of Immigrants, British Sample Only First generation immigrants
Intercept 2010 dummy Gender: male Age (reference: 65 plus) Under 35 35-44 45-54 55-64 Education (reference: below high school) High school Degree Postgrad Household financial situation (1-5 scale, higher scores = more secure) Migrant status (reference: native) Self or parent born abroad R squared N -0.31*** 0.04 923 -0.25** 0.03 896 -0.16** 0.03 905 -0.10 0.02 -0.09 -0.20 -0.09** -0.11 -0.15 -0.28* -0.09** 0.01 -0.13 -0.40*** -0.05 0.04 -0.05 -0.12 -0.07* -0.14 -0.07 -0.01 0.05 -0.21 -0.13 -0.10 0.04 -0.13 -0.001 0.07 0.04 -0.03 -0.04 -0.06 -0.05 2.82*** 0.09 0.11*

First generation Muslim immigrants


3.01*** 0.08 0.12*

Second generation immigrants


2.26*** -0.05 0.16**

Second generation Muslim immigrants


2.46*** -0.10 0.11

Notes: * p value < 0.10; ** p value < 0.05; *** p value < 0.01 on coefficients Integration attitudes measured using a 4 point scale. Higher scores mean more negative views about integration

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The German Marshall Fund of the United States

Table A5: Regression Analysis of Support for Integration Policies, Britain and Other TTI Countries Support for integration policies, Britain Intercept Gender: male
Age (reference: 65 plus)

Support for integration policies, other TTI countries 4.34*** -0.01 0.09 0.002 -0.03 0.03 0.14*** 0.19*** 0.16*** 0.04 0.04 -0.54*** -0.37*** -0.08* 0.14 5502

4.08*** 0.04 -0.06 -0.14 0.21 0.05 0.11 0.35** 0.47** 0.18 0.08 -0.65*** -0.51*** -0.01 0.18 859

Under 35 35-44 45-54 55-64


Education (reference: below high school)

High school Degree Postgrad


Migrant status (reference: native)

Self or parent born abroad


Views about immigration levels (reference: not too many)

A lot, but not too many Too many


Worried about immigration (reference: not worried)

Worried about legal imm Worried about illegal imm


R squared N
Notes: * p value < 0.10; ** p value < 0.05; *** p value < 0.01 on coefficients

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