The public is more positive about migration despite a record 504,000 net new arrivals last year, says a think tank. For the first time in polling history, more people want migration levels to increase or stay the same than want them to fall.
UK In A Changing Europe suggested that these changes are due to the belief that Brexit has delivered “stricter” controls, with skilled migrants prioritised.
Ukice said: “This policy approach is broadly popular and makes it harder to claim the Government is not exercising control over who comes to Britain, even if overall migration levels remain high.”
The study also found a fall in migration for sectors reliant on low-paid workers from the EU along with a rise in work visas for higher-skilled staff from outside the EU.
But Madeleine Sumption, of the Migration Observatory, said the impact was mixed. She said: “While some low-wage sectors have faced labour shortages as they adjust to a world without free movement, others have seen a boom in recruitment.”
A fall in EU students due to higher fees since Brexit has been more than offset by a rise from places such as Nigeria and India.
Meanwhile, the UK has also seen the biggest influx of refugees since wartime.
Some 437,000 came via humanitarian routes since the end of the Brexit transition on December 31, 2020. Around 85 percent of these were Ukrainians or Hongkongers.
Ukice’s Prof Jonathan Portes said the post-Brexit migration system was cutting low-skilled migration and liberalising higher-paid jobs. He added: “It is, in my view, achieving those objectives.”