Half of public in favour of relaxing visa cap for non-EU skilled workers

Ipsos MORI's May 2018 Political Monitor shows trust in the PM to make the right decisions on immigration has fallen significantly.

Half of public in favour of relaxing visa cap for non-EU skilled workers

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Glenn Gottfried Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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  • Half of public are in favour of relaxing visa cap for non-EU skilled workers like engineers and teachers, and even more when it comes to doctors
  • Trust in Theresa May to make the right decisions on immigration has fallen significantly since 2016

Trust in Theresa May to make the right decisions on immigration has fallen significantly since 2016 according to the latest Ipsos MORI Political Monitor. When asked how much they trust Theresa May to make the right decisions for Britain on immigration, 36% of Britons say they trust her a great deal or fair amount – 21 points down since September 2016. Three in five (62%) say they don’t trust her very much or not at all – an increase of 24 points. This puts the Prime Minister on similar figures to Jeremy Corbyn where a third (33%) trust him (up 2 points) and three in five (60%) don’t (down 4 points).

Trust in May/Corbyn to make the right decisions for Britain on immigration

 

Conservative supporters still back Theresa May however with two-thirds (67%) saying they have confidence in her to make the right decisions on immigration (30% say they do not). Just 15% of Labour supporters say they have confidence in her. Jeremy Corbyn also receives a high level of confidence from his own voters with two-thirds (67%) of Labour supporters saying they would have confidence in him to make the right decisions on immigration if he were Prime Minister (27% do not). Comparably 8% of Conservatives say they would have confidence in Mr Corbyn.

In the wake of a number of non-EU applicants within certain professions having their visa applications denied due to cap limitations, the new Ipsos MORI poll asks Britons whether the visa cap for these professions should be increased, reduced or retained. When it comes to each of the following professions the poll shows that:

  • Doctors: Thirty-seven percent think there should be no cap while a quarter (27%) think it should be increased. A fifth (19%) say it should stay the same, while 9% say it should be reduced. Three percent say visas should not be issued to them at all
  • Engineers: A quarter (27%) there should be no cap and a fifth (22%) say it should be increased. Three in ten (28%) say it should stay the same, 13% say it should be reduced and 4% say no visas should be issued at all.
  • Teachers: A quarter (27%) say there should be no cap and a fifth (21%) say it should be increased for teachers. Three in ten (30%) say it should remain the same, 11% say it should be reduced and 5% say no visas should be issued to teachers
  • Computer and technology experts: A fifth (21%) say there should be no cap for computer and technology experts and another fifth (20%) say it should be increased. Three in ten (30%) say it should stay the same, 16% say it should be reduced and 6% say visas should not be issued at all.

Immigration caps for skilled workers - Ipsos MORI

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

Even though most people want overall levels of immigration reduced, Britons have for a long time held different attitudes when it comes to skilled workers, and at a time when public concern about the NHS is high this may be especially acute.  Meanwhile, the Conservatives had a big lead on immigration before the 2017 election, but now trust in Theresa May on the issue has fallen significantly.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,015 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 18th – 22nd May 2018.  Data are weighted to the profile of the population.

 

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Glenn Gottfried Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

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