Inside Story

What’s behind British political opposition to immigration?

The number of arrivals in the United Kingdom is at record levels despite hardline government policies.

Immigration is a central theme in British politics, with the current Conservative government taking a hard line against people seeking to come and stay in the country.

One minister has described the United Kingdom as facing an invasion, comments widely criticised by rights organisations.

Government policies include proposals to process asylum seekers’ applications in Rwanda.

The opposition Labour Party says it too wants to reduce the number of arrivals, but with different plans.

Yet, despite the negative political climate, numbers released this week show net migration is at record levels, with a net influx of more than 600,000 people.

Why is there such political opposition to immigration in the United Kingdom?

Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault

Christa Rottensteiner — UK chief of mission, International Organization for Migration

Fizza Qureshi — CEO, Migrants’ Rights Network

Peter Geoghegan — Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy, an independent news website