Most think Theresa May will not achieve her target to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands”

New polling by Ipsos MORI finds most Britons are pessimistic about Theresa May’s likelihood of success to hit her target to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands” in the next few years.

Most think Theresa May will not achieve her target to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands”

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Research Director
  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Glenn Gottfried Research Manager
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Most think Theresa May will not achieve her target to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands”
Support for visas for EU citizens working in high skilled jobs – but not the “barista visa”
If prices do increase from cutting immigration public split on whether that’s a price worth paying in order to reduce immigration

New polling by Ipsos MORI finds most Britons are pessimistic about Theresa May’s likelihood of success to hit her target to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands” in the next few years. Two in three (68%) say that it is either not at all likely or fairly unlikely that the Conservatives will be able to achieve this target while just 18% think that they will. Nevertheless, when it comes to deciding what a “sustainable” level of net migration should be only one in five (20%) think this is would be 100,000 or above (after being told that it currently stands at 273,000). Half (49%) think it should be 100,000 or less and 30% are unsure.

The public have different views on whether special visas should be offered to EU citizens for different jobs. When it comes to allowing special visas for certain worker types baristas were not amongst those which the public believe should be offered such as visa – one in three (33%) think they should while half (52%) think they shouldn’t. Other workers that the public evaluated if they should or shouldn’t be allowed a special visa include:

  • Doctors: 81% think they should – 10% think they should not
  • Nurses: 80% think they should – 11% think they should not
  • Academics: 69% think they should – 17% think they should not
  • Computer and software experts: 61% think they should – 26% think they should not
  • Care home workers: 60% think they should – 27% think they should not
  • Seasonal fruit and vegetable pickers: 56% think they should – 31% think they should not
  • Restaurant and catering staff: 42% think they should – 44% think they should not
  • Construction labourers: 46% think they should – 41% think they should not
  • Bankers: 41% think they should – 45% think they should not

When it comes to the economic effect of reducing immigration one in three Britons (32%) think that it will cause prices on goods and services to be higher than they would be otherwise. Two in five (40%) however think that it would make no difference (6% think prices will decrease while 22% say they’re unsure). The public are more likely to think however that reducing immigration may have an effect on prices for goods and services within industries reliant on immigration, such as care homes, taxi cab fares and food prices. Forty-five percent think prices in these industries will be higher than they would otherwise while three in ten (30%) think it will make no difference.

If overall prices increase as a result of curbing immigration the public are split on whether this would be a price worth paying. Two in five (42%) say that if costs go up it would be a price worth paying to reduce immigration while 37% think it wouldn’t be a price worth paying because of the problems it would cause for businesses and consumers (21% don’t know).

Kully Kaur-Ballagan, head of race, faith and cohesion research at Ipsos MORI, said:

“Despite her commanding poll lead, Theresa May shows little sign of overturning the public’s long-held scepticism that immigration can be brought down to the ‘tens of thousands’. Our data also shows that, even though many are concerned about immigration, the public does differentiate between different types, while remain and leave voters are still divided in their views.”

Technical note
Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,061 online British adults aged 18-75 between 26-28 April 2017. Interviews were carried out on Ipsos MORI’s i-Omnibus. Data are weighted to the profile to the profile of the national population.

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Research Director
  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Glenn Gottfried Research Manager

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