This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Calls for cap on immigration
Asian leaders in Leicester are calling for restrictions on immigration to help make it easier for the unemployed to find work.
They spoke out after a survey showed more Asians are now opposed to immigration than white Britons.
Research commissioned by anti-fascist charity Searchlight Educational Trust found 39 per cent of Asians, 34 per cent of white people and 21 per cent of black people believed immigration should be halted permanently or at least until the UK's economy was back on track.
Mukesh Naker, spokesman for the Leicester-based pressure group British Hindu Voice, said: "Most British Hindus in Leicestershire would subscribe to the view that considering the state of the UK's economy, it is unwise to have uncontrolled immigration.
"British Hindus are concerned that if immigration and extremism are not managed and controlled properly, groups with far right extremist views will make advances which could lead to more difficulties for everyone."
Mr Naker said he was not surprised more Asians opposed immigration than white Britons.
"The number of Asians holding this view may be higher because most new arrivals tend to settle in large cities which normally have a higher Asian population, and the impact on jobs and the availability of resources would be that much greater on those communities," he said.
Suleman Nagdi, of Leicester, is spokesman for the Federation of Muslim Organisations. He agreed the number of immigrants should be controlled.
"We believe that in the economic downturn, when jobs are hard to come by, it would be very difficult to absorb many more people into this country," he said.
"However, we do recognise there are some skills that certain industrial sectors need, so it would be difficult for the Government to halt immigration completely.
"The other area of concern is a rise in immigration would play into the hands of far-right groups for whom immigration is the only issue."
More than 5,000 individuals were questioned for the immigration survey, including 455 respondents from the East Midlands.
The subsequent report, titled Fear and Hope: The New Politics Of Identity, reveals a large proportion of voters, across all races and communities, now have immigration concerns.
The level of net migration into the UK rose by 36 per cent last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
An estimated 572,000 people entered the UK on a long-term basis in the year to June 2010 while 346,000 emigrated.
Ministers want to reduce net migration levels, the difference between the two figures, to tens of thousands by 2015.
To help do this, the coalition Government plans to cap immigration from outside the European Union.