Immigration remains a contentious issue in Britain. At the heart of the Brexit debate, it’s a topic that divides the country along geographical as well as political lines.
This week, Theresa May was embarrassed by an ONS report which revealed that drastically fewer foreign students are overstaying their visas than previously thought. It’s not 100,000 a year – it’s 4,600 a year.
Nicola Sturgeon then renewed calls for Holyrood to gain control over immigration to attract much needed workers to Scotland.
The Prime Minister now under increased pressure to remove foreign students from her calculation of immigration as part of her plan to reduce it to “tens of thousands”.
But the question of immigration is often more linked to perception than to reality.
An Ipsos Mori study last year revealed that Leave voters suspected 20 per cent of the population was made up of EU nationals.
Remain voters thought it was 10 per cent. It’s actually closer to 5 per cent. And a clear majority of Britons think immigration should be “reduced a lot”, with “reduced a little” coming in second.
A majority of the British public has consistently believed immigration is too high since the 1960s – with 89 per cent agreeing on the matter in 1970.
The ‘migration level’ quiz
A quiz released by the ONS aims to reveal the difference between perception and reality when it comes to immigration levels. It asks users to guess the level of migration in their area. The quiz will then compare your guess with the official data.
Scotland’s migration levels
In Scotland, Aberdeen has the highest percentage of migration, with almost one in five (19 per cent) of the population registered as non-British nationals.
In Edinburgh 14 per cent of the populace are non-British nationals compared to 12 per cent in Glasgow.
London, unsurprisingly, had the highest levels in the UK, although so-called Brexit capital Boston, in Lincolnshire, has 27 per cent non-British nationals – higher than Manchester.
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