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En undersøkelse gjort for Financial Times viser at nesten 8 av 10 briter mener at arbeidsledige innvandrere må forlate landet, og den britiske regjeringen innrømmer at de ikke har klart å etablere kontroll over innvandrings-debatten.

Immigrasjonsminister Phil Woolas sier at han ikke er overrasket over resultatet av undersøkelsen, og at det britiske folket heller ikke kommer til å være komfortable med innvandringen til Storbritannia før de er sikre på at regjeringen har kontroll over landets grenser.

– Undersøkelsens resultat er ikke noen overraskelse. Det er bekymringsfult, men skyldes for en stor del av publikum ikke har noen tiltro til at regjeringen har kontroll. Det sentrale målet for min innvandringspolitikk er å forsikre publikum at vi vet hvem som er her og hvem som ikke er her, sier Woolas i en kommentar.

Insisting the Government’s border controls were working, Mr Woolas added today that hundreds of refugees risking their lives in Calais to get into Britain are «locked out, not queuing to get in».

He told GMTV the UK’s borders were tougher than that between the United States and Mexico: «We are, on the whole, stopping people getting through,» he said.

«We’re counting people in and counting people out.»

The minister claimed opposition to foreign workers was ‘based on the belief that the immigrant has no legitimate right to be here,’ adding: ‘We will only get a country that is comfortable with immigration when we can show the Government has it under control.’

Mr Woolas’s admission highlights the Labour Government’s defensiveness over immigration – following years of increasingly tough rhetoric and repeated efforts to tighten controls.

Mer enn halvparten av de spurte i undersøkelsen er også motstandere av EU-borgeres rett til å leve og arbeide i Storbritannia – en rettighet som er et av EU`s bærende prinsipper.

It questioned thousands of people across the UK, Europe and the United States regarding immigration and the economy.

Among the British public it highlights widespread ill-feeling towards foreign workers at a time when unemployment is nearing the two million mark.

Konsulenter i firmaet Oxford Economics varsler forøvrig at de tror at så mange som 1,3 millioner briter vil miste jobbene sine i løpet av 2009 og 2010.

I Storbritannia mener hele 78 prosent at innvandrere uten arbeid må forlate landet. I Italia, Spania, Tyskland og USA svarer majoriteten av de spurte det samme, mens den samme oppfatningen deles av omtrent halvparten av de spurte i Frankrike.

Hva gjelder den frie bevegelse av EU-borgere, støtter et lite flertall i Tyskland denne retten, mens det uttrykkes litt mer støtte til dette i Frankrike, Italia og Spania.

Det er anslått at en million utenlandske arbeidere har slått seg ned i Storbritannia etter at Øst-europeiske land kom med i EU i 2004.

Most other member states exercised a treaty right to bar eastern Europeans from their own job markets, but Britain allowed a free-for-all and the huge numbers arriving massively exceeded the Government’s expectations.

Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘What this poll represents is the combination of that policy failure with the obvious pressures on the job market because of the recession.’

Phil Woolas suffered a further setback yesterday when watchdogs rejected his criticism of the Office for National Statistics over its release of immigrant population figures last month.

The ONS brought forward the published of the startling figures – showing that one in nine UK residents was born overseas – because of officials judged that the material was topical and important to the immigration debate.

But Phil Woolas, who faced embarrassment over the figures, unleashed a ferocious attack on the independent statisticians accusing them of straying into ‘the most inflamed debate in British politics’ and claiming the release was ‘at best naive, or, at worst, sinister.’

Today the UK Statistics Authority gave its strong backing to the ONS, concluding that the publication was ‘consistent’ with the rules and the timing was ‘influenced by the level of public interest in the topic.’

The ONS’s press release was ‘factually accurate’ and ‘neutral and impartial’ in tone, the watchdog added, whereas failing to publish the figures could have led to a misinformed debate based on flawed figures – although it said the ONS should have made a formal announcement explaining why it was bringing the publication forward, and included more supporting information.

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