PARIS: People throughout the world are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with immigration levels which are higher than any time since the Second World War, according to a new survey published Monday.
At least six out of 10 people in France and Belgium, which have recently suffered deadly jihadist attacks, believe immigration has had a “negative impact”, said the Ipsos polling institute.
Similar figures were found in Russia, Hungary and also Italy, which has had to deal with large numbers of migrants fleeing the Middle East or Africa and seeking to forge new lives in Europe.
In all, 49 percent of those surveyed in 22 countries said there were “too many immigrants” and 46 percent felt “immigration is causing their country to change in ways they don’t like,” Ipsos said in a statement.
The Japanese were least likely to say there are too many immigrants in their country (only 12 percent), and the Brazilians least likely to voice discomfort at how immigration is changing their country (23 percent), according to the study.
The surveyors also pointed to a rise in the number of British people who think that immigration has been good for the country, standing at 35 percent, sharply up on the 19 percent recorded in 2011.
And while almost half of the British surveyed felt there were too many immigrants in the country, this level was down from 71 percent five years ago.
“Britain has in fact become more positive about many aspects of immigration. This might seem surprising given that the desire to reduce immigration was undoubtedly a key reason for the Brexit vote,” Ipsos spokesman Bobby Duffy said.
Duffy added however that the referendum decision to leave the EU “has polarised opinion”.
Yves Bardon, an Ipsos director in France, said that the media bombardment of images of migrants and refugees arriving on Europe’s shores “have heightened the fear of uncontrollable migration throughout most of Europe, with the key issue being their ability to integrate”.
Six out of 10 people questioned for the survey said they were concerned about terrorists pretending to be refugees, and four in 10 want to close their nation’s borders entirely.
The study was carried out in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States from June 24-July 8, with a total of 16,040 people questioned.