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Acceptance of migrants falling across the globe – Gallup report

25 September 20200 comments

The world is growing less accepting of migrants with a number of EU nations topping a list of the countries least accepting of newcomers, according to new research by Gallup.

The latest update of Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Index has found that, overall, the world is slightly less accepting of migrants today than it was three years ago.

It found that between 2016 and 2019 the global score on the index, which gauges people’s acceptance of migrants based on increasing degrees of personal proximity to migrants, declined from 5.34 to 5.21.

However, Australia remains among the countries most welcoming of migrants.

The report said that many of the countries leading the global downturn have been receiving the mass of Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis in their country.

Scores dropped more than two full points in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, which have absorbed millions of Venezuelans since 2015.

“Initially, many of the migrants and refugees were welcomed in these countries, but public sentiment started to turn against them as their economies, and their health, education and social assistance programs buckled under the strain,” the report said.

Acceptance also declined in countries where migration has become polarising issue, including EU countries such as Belgium and Switzerland, where right-wing, anti-immigration parties continued to gain ground between 2016 and 2019.

Acceptance also declined in India, where controversial laws were passed last year giving pathways to citizenship for migrants – except for Muslims.

The index is based on three questions that Gallup asked in 140 countries in 2016 and 2017 and updated again in 145 countries in 2019. The questions ask whether people think migrants living in their country, becoming their neighbors and marrying into their families are good things or bad things.

Acceptance of migrants actually rose in a few countries such as Chile which also took in hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, although. Not as many as Venezuela’s closer neighbors.

In Moldova, which saw the biggest increase, the higher acceptance of migrants was said to be related to the influx of Turkish, Azerbaijani and Uzbekistani migrant workers into the country. Most of these workers were enrolled in foreign companies that brought in EU funds for different development projects.

Attitudes toward migrants have also notably improved in Poland, which was among several EU countries that voted against the United Nations’ migration pact in 2018.

Although Poland’s index score was not high, it improved by just under a point within the past three years, rising from 3.31 to 4.21.

“In that time, Poles became more open to seeing migrants living in their country as a good thing (increasing from 28 per cent to 42 per cent) and as their neighbors (26 per cent vs 38 per cent), but not necessarily as members of their family (23 per cent vs. 27 per cent),” the report said.

Among the countries that were the least accepting of migrants in 2019 include several EU member states, such as Hungary, Croatia, Latvia and Slovakia, and those same states were also on this list in 2016.

Most of the countries with the lowest scores on the Migrant Acceptance Index in 2019 were also on this list in 2016.

Only three – Thailand, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey – were new to the list in 2019. Turkey’s appearance reflects the burden the country took on with the 2016 deal with the EU to keep refugees in its territory, the report says. The country currently hosts an estimated 4 million refugees and migrants, and the 2016 deal has since collapsed.

Nearly all of the countries that were most accepting of migrants in 2019 were also among the most accepting of migrants in 2016-2017.

This list includes Australia, the US and Canada, which now sits on top the list as the most-accepting country in the world with a score of 8.46. Australia is fourth with a score of 8.28.

See the full report here: