Recession-hit Britons are the most anxious about levels of immigration, but they are also surprisingly tolerant about how immigrants ought to be treated and actually want more skilled foreigners to fill jobs in health and care, a survey of developed nations shows.
The Transatlantic Trend polls, the third in a series commissioned annually by the German Marshall Fund in the US, found 23% of Britons feel immigration is the most important issue facing the country.
The public opinion survey of the US, Canada and six European countries — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain — shows that only about 3% of Spaniards worry about immigration. Even in Italy, which has seen a rise in right-wing violence and rhetoric against immigrants, the figure is 10% — the highest after the Britain.
However, as rich nations recover from the crisis, there is near consensus that governments are managing immigration poorly.