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If you only took your cues from Westminster, you would be forgiven for thinking the UK has anti-immigration sentiment hard-wired in. This idea, which circulates in the political press, is difficult to square with the generous welcome given by Brits hosting Ukrainians, welcoming Hong Kongers, or helping resettle Syrians before them. If you look beyond the headlines, you will see powerful acts of kindness to strangers being carried out everywhere across Britain.

Most people are “balancers” on immigration, seeing both pressures and gains. Since 2016, the balance has shifted in a more positive direction, with a quiet, broad consensus for a pragmatic approach to issuing visas for work and study. For instance, 46 per cent of the public now see the contribution of immigration as positive, vs just 29 per cent saying negative—a direct reversal of the position in 2015-16. At the same time, we see a more polarised debate and less public consensus over asylum and channel crossings.

Yet the balancer majority gets drowned out by heated debate online, in the media and during political campaigning, which has served to polarise the argument between left and right, cities and towns, young and old.

Most people are “balancers” on immigration, seeing both pressures and gains.

I propose we harness this moment for a comprehensive migration review: a people-led commission charged with taking a fresh, 360-degree view on immigration. A grand jury of sorts, where the public can test the full spectrum of views. How could we manage local impacts fairly if migration stays high? What would the options be for reducing the numbers, if we wanted to do that? Could we do more to promote integration and citizenship for people once they are here?

Though views differ, this would surface more common ground than many might expect about how to make migration work fairly for those who come and the communities they join.

Done right, giving people more voice can make immigration policy more publicly owned. But it can’t be a one-off. The Home Secretary should publish an annual Migration Statement—like the Chancellor’s budget—providing an annual focal point to respond to public engagement.

Meaningful contacts shift views. So we should also have a national welcoming service, with a hub in every local authority area, taking a systemic approach to harnessing the appetite of the wider public to get involved. Broadening the geography of welcoming, and engaging the voice of the public in the immigration choices we make, is key to keeping policy in step with changing views.

This article was originally published as part of Minister for the Future in partnership with Prospect. Illustrations by Ian Morris. You can read the original feature on the Prospect website.