As the UK prepares to vote over its membership of the European Union, immigration has become an increasingly potent issue.
But although polls have shown migration to be one of voters’ main concerns, an OECD report on migration published today suggests that although immigration poses its challenges, integration isn't necessarily one of the most important: in fact, it seems more migrants translate into better integration.
If anything, countries that are home to high proportions of immigrants tend to have better integration outcomes.
Attitudes towards immigration are also overwhelmingly negative in the UK, with 77 per cent of voters wanting to cut immigration, although this may have something to do with the fact that we also tend to overestimate the percentage of immigrants. A poll from Ipsos Mori showed the public believes roughly a third of the population are immigrants. The real figure hovers around 13 per cent.
Authors of the OECD report pointed out that successfully integrating immigrants into the labour market and society as a whole isn’t just important for social cohesion, but for boosting economic growth.
Statistics and myths about the economic consequences of immigration abound. 31% of Britons believe that immigrants are a drain on public resources, but there is little research to support this. In fact, the report published today showed two in three immigrants in OECD countries are employed, which is one percentage point higher than native-born.
Many preconceptions shape public perceptions of immigrants. It is therefore crucial to provide policy makers and the public with solid facts and figures.