Immigration as defined by the public isn’t necessarily the same as defined by the official statistics, according to an Ipsos Mori survey on behalf of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University.
Thinking Behind the Numbers says ’members of the public and the government may be thinking about different things even when both are talking about “immigration”. Categories such as temporary immigrants and students loom large in official statistics, but less than a third of the public has in mind either of these categories when thinking about immigrants.’
People feel most strongly about low-skilled migrants and asylum seekers but the former often come from within the European Union, exercising a legal right, and the latter – a small proportion of the total flow – have a right under international agreements to have their claim for asylum assessed.
One of the largest categories of immigrants, students, seem to cause the public the least concern.