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Attitudes toward Immigrants and Immigration Policy in United Kingdom

Author(s): Viviana ANDREESCU

Journal: Journal of Identity and Migration Studies
ISSN 1843-5610

Volume: 5;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 61;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: anti-immigration attitudes | immigrants | immigration policy | United Kingdom

Although recent research found substantial variation in the strength of anti-immigrant opinions across new and old countries of immigration, most studies determined that the public increasingly supports restrictive immigration policies. This paper explores several sources of attitudes toward immigrants in United Kingdom and attempts to simultaneously test some of the most important theoretical explanations of public attitudes toward immigration issues when the family immigration history is taken into account. Results are based on a quantitative analysis of data from the European Social Survey (Round 4/2008). Even if when compared to persons from families with at least one foreign-born member natives express the strongest opposition to flexible migration policies and are more likely to have negative views regarding the immigrants’ role in the British society, opinions vary significantly among groups differentiated by political preferences, socioeconomic attributes, and demographic characteristics. While for native Britons findings support the economic self-interest theory, education and social attachment (i.e., interpersonal and institutional trust) appear to be the strongest predictors of positive attitudes toward immigrants and opposition to restrictive immigration policies.
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