Public demands priority for British workers

December 04, 2023

A new poll by Migration Watch UK found that 67% of people support the idea of advertising jobs in the UK before hiring workers from overseas.

A resounding 58% strongly oppose the policy allowing overseas workers to be paid salaries up to 20% below the usual rate.

Additionally, a significant 48% disagree with the policy permitting international students to stay in the UK for up to two years post-study without conditions. This policy was re-introduced by the Conservatives in 2021.

Migration Watch UK Chairman, Alp Mehmet, issued a response to the poll findings:

The public has spoken loud and clear — British jobs must be prioritised for British workers. The government simply can’t go on disregarding their interests.

Notes to editors

This polling was carried out on the 29th of November 2023 by People Polling for Migration Watch UK. The sample included 1,512 adults aged over eighteen in Great Britain. Participants were sampled to meet Office of National Statistics quotas for gender, age, region, socio-economic group, vote in the 2019 general election, and vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

No criteria are used to over or under sample respondents. To ensure the polling is representative of the target population, People Polling used official data sources to match the sample to demographic population targets.


1. To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

‘Jobs in the UK should have to be advertised in the UK before businesses can recruit workers from overseas to fill them.’

Strongly agree 39%
Tend to agree 28%
Tend to disagree 9%
Strongly disagree 4%
Don’t know 21%

2. Workers who are recruited from overseas can be paid salaries up to 20% below the usual rate if going into a list of specified jobs. To what extent, if at all, do you agree with this policy?

Strongly agree 7%
Tend to agree 7%
Tend to disagree 28%
Strongly disagree 30%
Don’t know 28%

3. In recent years, international students have been able to stay in the UK for up to two years after completing their university studies without any conditions or even needing to have a job. To what extent, if at all, do you support this policy?

Strongly agree 8%
Tend to agree 17%
Tend to disagree 23%
Strongly disagree 25%
Don’t know 26%

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