Afghanistan exodus pushes immigration and asylum to joint-second place in top issues facing the UK

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
August 25, 2021, 3:50 PM UTC

A third of adults say it is among the top three issues facing the UK

The UK has promised to take in 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan across the next five years – with many saying the commitment is not enough. YouGov polling for The Times last week revealed Britons to be broadly in favour of resettling Afghan refugees, and our latest issues tracker shows that “immigration and asylum” has become one of the most important issues facing the country.  

Some 36% of people rank currently immigration and asylum as one of the three most pressing issues affecting the country, up seven points since 16 August, and tying for importance with the economy. The only issue more commonly ranked as more important by the general public is health (45%).

The issue of immigration and asylum has risen in importance among both Conservative voters (55%, +7), and Labour voters (19%, + 8). The shared increase across voting groups suggests at least part of this rise is a humanitarian concern: although generally more sceptical about admitting migrants and asylum seekers to the UK, our previous poll showed a plurality of Conservatives (45%) in support of taking on Afghan asylum seekers. Among Labour voters, this figure is 69%.

The crisis unfolding in Kabul is also likely to be the reason behind those listing defence and security as a top-three issue rising from 5% to 10%. This includes a 10-point rise among Conservatives (28%) but only a three-point rise in Labour voters (6%)

See full tracker here