Britons tend to think the government’s ‘New Plan for Immigration’ policies are fair

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
June 09, 2021, 9:15 AM UTC

Half of people think how someone entered the UK should be a factor in their asylum application

A major overhaul of the UK’s asylum and immigration policies have been underway for some time, with the New Plan for Immigration most recently mentioned in the Queen’s Speech.

Now, YouGov research shows that Britons think the proposed changes are fair, and many agree with Home Secretary Priti Patel that how someone enters the country should be taken into account in their asylum application.

Should how someone arrives into the UK impact their asylum application?

One aim of the controversial new bill is to deter migration across the channel by changing rules to mean only those who enter the UK via a legitimate route are eligible for indefinite leave to remain. Those who enter the UK via other means will only be granted “temporary protection status” and will be regularly reassessed for removal.

Half of Britons (50%) say that how someone enters the UK should be taken into account in an application for asylum, while around a third (37%) think the application should be based solely on the applicant’s needs.

Among 2019 Conservative voters, approaching three quarters (73%) say applications should take into account whether someone has entered the UK via legal channels or not, compared to 28% of Labour voters who say the same.

Britons think the New Plan for Immigration policies are fair

The planned changes have received wide condemnation in the press, but do Brits think the new rules are just?

Overall, Britons tend to think the policy changes are fair. Most notably, 64% of people think that removing people deemed inadmissible as asylum seekers in the UK into the asylum system of another safe country is fair - including some 86% of Conservative voters. Only 15% of the general public think doing so is unfair. Labour voters are more likely to think this change is fair (47%) than unfair (28%) with around a quarter undecided (24%).

Further to this, under the proposed changes those who enter the country by unofficial means will be unable to claim full asylum if they passed through another safe country on their way to the UK, or have a connection to another safe country – something 61% of people say is fair. A clear majority of Conservative voters think this is fair (81%), however there is division among Labour voters. Some two in five Labour voters (41%) think the change would be fair, while 39% think this to be unfair.

The New Plan for Immigration will also see the creation of purpose-built reception centres for housing asylum seekers, which six in ten Britons (60%) see as fair while a fifth (21%) see as unfair. Some eight in ten Conservatives think this is fair (81%), while Labour voters are also more likely to say these centres are fair (47%) than unfair (34%).

Another 56% of the public, and 80% of Conservatives, think it’s fair that those who are ineligible for asylum but who also cannot be legally removed will not be granted the right to settle in the UK, and will be reassessed for return to the country of origin or a safe third country. Again, there is a divide among Labour voters, with 33% seeing this proposal as fair compared to 39% who think it is not. 

This research was also published in The Telegraph 

See full results here