UK is confused between refugees and economic migrants.
A report, Hopes and Fears, published by new think tank British Future says four out of 10 people believe more than 10 per cent of the population comprises refugees.
The report also says one in 20 believe most people in Britain today are refugees, even as the true number is under 1 per cent.
In response, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “This poll gives a useful insight into the public’s attitudes towards immigration. It’s alarming, however, to see yet another poll that shows people wildly overestimate the number of asylum seekers in the UK, highlighting public confusion between refugees who come to the UK seeking protection, and other groups such as economic migrants.
“Asylum seekers are people who have fled war or persecution and who come to the UK seeking safety, not work. They make up just a fraction of the whole immigrant population. It is time that politicians and the media joined us in helping people understand why the UK should be proud to protect refugees.”
In April 2011, the Refugee Council published an opinion poll that showed that there is significant misunderstanding around who a refugee is, with many confusing them with economic migrants from Poland and Eastern Europe.
Three quarters of Britons also wildly overestimated the small number of refugees granted asylum in the UK. In 2009, 4,175 individuals were granted refugee status, yet 44 per cent of Britons believed it was 100,000 or more.