The Malta Independent 23 January 2021, Saturday

25% of Maltese strongly believe main reason for low wages is immigration – survey

Kevin Schembri Orland Tuesday, 24 November 2020, 10:40 Last update: about 3 months ago

A quarter of Maltese people strongly believe that the main reason for low wages in Malta is immigration, a survey has found.

The survey was issued by the University of Malta’s Faculty for Social Wellbeing and dealt with the topic of migration. There were 600 respondents and the survey was conducted in October.

Asked whether they think that immigration is the main reason as to why wages are being kept low in Malta, 27.1% said they absolutely disagreed with such a belief, 13.9% somewhat disagreed, 21.4% were neutral, 12.6% somewhat agreed and 25% strongly agreed.

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Up until the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Malta’s population was on the rise, with businesses requiring more and more foreign workers to fill posts as there were just not enough Maltese workers. This had led to criticism by the PN that the government was growing the economy based on increasing the population.

In terms of age groups, those aged 66+ are the respondents who most believe that immigration is keeping salaries low in Malta. The 16-25 age bracket were on average on the other end, in disagreement with such a belief.

In terms of education level, the survey found that respondents with a high level of education are the ones who believe least that immigration is the main factor as to why salaries in Malta are being kept low.

The survey also asked respondents to say whether they would be ok with some immigrants living close to their homes.

Almost 30% of the respondents said that they strongly agree that it would be ok (29.6%). 16.2% said they somewhat agreed that it would be ok, 23.6% were neutral, 10.6% somewhat disagreed with the statement and 19.9% absolutely disagreed.

In terms of age groups, “respondents who are aged 66+ are the ones who mostly do not like the idea that immigrants are living close to their home.”

In terms of education level, “those who have the lowest level of education are the ones who mostly do not like the idea that immigrants are living close to their home.”

Respondents were also asked whether they consider themselves to be racist. More than half of the respondents consider themselves as being absolutely not racist (56.9%). 2.5% of the respondents consider themselves as very racist.

15% consider themselves to be slightly racist and 25.6% consider themselves to be ‘not so racist’.

Respondents were also asked how acceptable it would be for them if an (African) immigrant married a member of their family members (such as their son or daughter) and to answer on a scale from 1 to 5 (where 1 means ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and 5 means ‘very acceptable’). The majority said 1 (36.4%). 11.7% answered 2, 21.8% responded 3, 14.8% responded 4 and 15.3% responded 5.

“Young respondents are the ones who mostly accept that an African immigrant would marry a member of their family,” the survey found. The survey also divided the responses according to education level and read that “the lower the level of education of the respondents, the more they are against the idea.”

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