WISERD Immigration Study makes the news

A Welsh Government funded study carried out by researchers at Bangor University, as part of WISERD (The Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods), has provided new data on what people in Wales think about immigration and how this compares to other parts of the United Kingdom.

Examining questions about immigration asked in large scale surveys over the last 5 years, the study finds that whilst people as a whole strong support the reduction in the number of immigrants to the UK, there are also notable regional differences on what people think about immigration.

The results appear to suggest a trend whereby people in Wales, the Midlands and North of England report higher support for reducing immigration and hold relatively more negative views on the impact of immigration. On the other hand, in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland there appears a different pattern where support for reducing immigration is not so high and views on the impact of immigration are more favourable.

According to Dr Robin Mann of the School of Social Sciences, “This is a small and exploratory study and we have to remember that what people say in a survey cannot be taken as a reflection of how people get on with each other within communities. This said the data does give us a general picture into what people think about the idea of immigration”.

Dr Mann argues that the interesting question is why Scotland seems to report less support for reducing immigration than Wales. “It’s interesting in that you might expect Scotland and Wales to be similar, but what we found is that Wales is closer to the majority in England than it is to Scotland.”

“The message from both the Scottish and Welsh governments is very much pro-immigration and has been for several years.  The Welsh Government has done a lot of good and important work in terms of developing policies such as its Migrants Forum, and Refugee Inclusion Strategy. But it would seem that people are still somewhat unhappy with the idea of immigration”.

“The reason for this difference could be that, compared to Wales, Scotland has a stronger economic and political voice, which sets its own agenda on immigration and is thereby able to ‘soak up’ these sorts of anti-immigration sentiments, to albeit only to an extent”.

The final report of the study was published in May 2012. For further details about the research and to view the report in full, please visit the project website.

View an online version of the media coverage here.

Publication date: 3 July 2012