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Many Britons believe immigrants work harder: Poll

About 48 per cent of Britons said they think immigrants were a bad influence on the country.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2006 15:49 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Britons are divided in their views about the influence of immigrants on their country, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that found both widespread respect for immigrants' willingness to work and worries about the likelihood of criminal activity.

About 48 per cent of Britons said they think immigrants were a bad influence on the country, and almost as many, 43 per cent, said they were a good influence.

The British government's handling of immigration has come under scrutiny recently.

Former Immigration Minister Tony McNulty was fired in late May, days after he estimated the number of illegal immigrants was "roughly in the ball park" of between 31,000 and 57,000 people.

And officials recently acknowledged that since 1999, at least 1,019 foreign offenders who should have been deported after completing a prison sentence were allowed to remain in Britain.

The AP-Ipsos poll found that 25 per cent of Britons believed immigrants were more likely to be involved in crime than people born in the United Kingdom.

The new Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said immigrants "are continuing to come to the UK to fill gaps in the UK labour market" and having a "positive effect" on the country. But many Britons do not share the sentiment.

More than a fifth of the poll respondents, 22 per cent, said that immigrants have a "very bad influence" on their country. But 40 per cent of Britons said immigrants work harder than people born in the UK.

The telephone poll of 1,000 adults was taken May 12-21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

First Published: Jun 06, 2006 15:49 IST