As the crisis of COVID-19 has proceeded, we have noticed more visibly than ever the contribution of migrants make to the UK. News bulletins reveal the pictures of the several people who came from overseas to work in the NHS and unfortunately died looking after others. High-profile people have expressed appreciation of the migrants who have influenced their lives. On his discharge from hospital, Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister made a feature of recognizing and appreciating the migrant nurses.
In polling we managed with British Future back in Jun 2018, approximately half (45%) of individuals told that they wanted to witness the number of low-skilled workers from the EU decreased. But the mutual dependence on individuals in all walks of life, from bin men to caring workers, delivery drivers and cleaners, has become very apparent, our most recent polling finds support from the public for migrants now seems to prolong beyond our ‘NHS heroes’ to those earlier decreased to the ‘unskilled’ workers category.
A vast majority (77%) accepted that EU nationals working as nurses and doctors during the crisis of coronavirus should be given automatic UK citizenship. But less expectedly, a good majority (62%) also supported offering automatic UK citizenship to care workers who have been doing necessary work during the coronavirus crisis, and 50% of those polled thought that automatic UK citizenship should be prolonged to agricultural workers and supermarket workers (50% accepted) and delivery drivers (47% accepted).
Even amongst Leave voters, more prone to be skeptical about the immigration benefits, a tremendous 72% supported granting automatic UK citizenship to NHS nurses and doctors. More than half (53%) recommended granting automatic UK citizenship to care workers, and a huge proportion felt that supermarket workers and agricultural workers (40% accepted) and delivery drivers (38% accepted) must also get automatic UK citizenship.
In our central Conversation on Immigration, the largest ever public commitment on the issue, people continuously framed their views by the prism of fairness: they aspired to see a system that was fair to immigrants, but also to obtaining communities– a system of immigration that was also fair to them.
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