Indians benevolent towards refugees, but do not want more refugees - World Refugee Day, June 20, 2020 – Ipsos Global Survey

June 20th is World Refugee Day. How do Indians perceive refugees? Who are welcome and who are not? Refugees in times of COVID 19 pandemic? What should be our stance?

The author(s)

  • Madhurima Bhatia Media Relations and Content lead
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The Ipsos global survey shows Indians continue to be benevolent towards those who are victims of war and persecution, with at least 61% Indians approving of such people taking refuge in India or other countries, though there is a 4% drop from 2019 (65%).

How about the regular influx of refugees?

We see hardening of stand with at least 68% of urban Indians polled believing that we should close our borders to refugees entirely as there is no scope for handling more. In fact, there is a 4% increase since 2019, of those endorsing this view.

Why are urban Indians averse to more refugees?

There is a dilemma – Indians empathize with victims of war and persecution but at the same time there is a strong view against influx of regular refugees, because 3 in 4 urban Indians (74%) are highly skeptical of the motives for seeking refuge – there is a feeling, most come for economic reasons or to avail the welfare schemes. This view has further increased since 2019 (70%),” said Amit Adarkar, CEO, Ipsos India.

Malaysia too strongly (75%) holds this view and is wary of the real motives for seeking refuge. A 14% jump from 2019 (61%).  

Russia (74%) and Turkey (72%) too are doubtful of the motives of refugees.

Canada on the contrary is polarized in its perception of refugees – 44% are skeptical, while 45% view refugees on face value and are welcoming towards them.

Integration of Refugees

While most markets will view it as a positive trait of how quickly the refugees can integrate themselves with the local market; in India refugees tend to quickly blend themselves with the locals, it is difficult to tell them apart from locals and there is why India is grappling with the mass influx of refugees who have now Indian citizenship using fraudulent means. It is a nightmare for India.

Perceptions on Refugees Post COVID19     

 Globally, Indians continue to be some of most benevolent towards refugees, post COVID19. 17% want to be more open and accepting, 34% are the same as before and 41% are less open towards more refugees. If we compare it with the global trend, then India is 2nd most kind after Saudi Arabia. Russia is at the bottom of the heap with 2% more open, 18% staying the same and 66% less open. Global citizens too are 10% more open, 30% staying the same and 49% staying less open.

Divided views, but Indians continue to show their benevolent side – at least 1 in 3 Indians (33%) want the government to increase spends in supporting refugees during COVID19. While 32% feel we should continue to spend the same as last year. While 25% will like the govt to curtail the spends.

Notes to editors:

17,997 online adults were interviewed in total and fieldwork was conducted from 22 May - 5 June 2020

In the US, South Africa, Turkey and Canada adults aged 18-74 were interviewed and aged 16-64 in all other countries.

15 of the 26 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States).

Brazil, China, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Serbia, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens.  We refer to these respondents as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”.  They are not nationally representative of their country.

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.

The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.1 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 4.5 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

The author(s)

  • Madhurima Bhatia Media Relations and Content lead

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