King's College London

Research portal

Has Covid-19 reset the immigration debate?

Research output: Book/ReportReport

Kirstie Hewlett, Bobby Duffy, Rebecca Benson, Steve Ballinger, Sunder Katwala

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2020


King's Authors


This study considers the impact of the coronavirus crisis on attitudes to immigration and the public’s preferences for the points-based system. The analysis in this report compares responses from a subset of survey questions fielded in January 2020 for The Reset Moment report with responses from May 2020, one week after the first measures to ease lockdown were announced.

The findings in this report suggest that attitudes to immigration have remained broadly consistent since the start of the year. However, there is greater reported awareness of the role of migrants in the NHS and frontline services; and a subtle warming in attitudes to immigration, particularly among younger cohorts and ethnic minorities. Such incremental changes are part of a longer-term softening of attitudes towards immigration that began before the EU referendum, pre- dating the coronavirus crisis.

This study was produced by the Policy Institute at King’s College London and British Future, with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council through the UK in a Changing Europe and Global Dialogue. The pre-COVID survey ran on the ICM omnibus from 10-13 January 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 2,305 adults in Great Britain; the post-lockdown survey ran from 15-17 May 2020 with 2,043 adults in Britain.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454