Less than a third of Australians support a visa blanket ban on whole countries

April 08, 2024, 7:40 AM GMT+0

YouGov’s latest public data poll reveals that only 31% of Australians agree that the government should, in principle, have the power to ban all visa applications from certain countries.

Twice as many Australians (60%) support the principle of applications being dealt with on their own merit, regardless of country of origin.

In this poll, not a single political or demographic group in Australia supported the idea of granting the power to ban all visa applications from a country. The government currently has legislation before the Senate that proposes the power to impose such a ban.

One Nation, the Coalition, Labor, and Greens voters in the 2022 Federal election all strongly support the principle of dealing with visa applications based on individual merit rather than country of origin.

Support for the government having the power to ban all visa applications from a country was lowest amongst Labor and Greens voters. Only 26% of those who voted for Labor and 8% who voted for the Greens support this approach.

A majority of Coalition voters, at 52%, also wanted visa applications to be dealt with on individual merit. However, support for the power to ban applications from entire countries was higher at 42%.

Both Yes and No voters of the recent referendum supported the principle of dealing with all visa applications on merit. However, a much higher percentage of No voters were in favour of the government having the power to ban whole countries from applying for visas. 41% of those who voted No were in favour of this, compared to 16% of those who voted Yes.

Examining opinion by age shows that, generally, the younger the age group, the less support is held for the principle of banning visa applications based on country of origin.

18-24s were the least likely to support this idea, with only 15% in favour. Support rises with age to 30% of 25-34s, 31% of 35-49s, 33% of 50-64%, and 35% of 65+.

Director of Public Affairs and Public Data, Paul Smith said, “YouGov’s data has showed the lack of support from voters of all parties for the principle of the government having the power to ban all visa applications from a particular country. Considering this, the government faces an uphill battle to convince the public and the senate why it should have this power.”

Methodology: This survey was conducted between 29 March and 6th April with a sample of 1517. Results are weighted to be representative of the population by age, gender, education, AEC region, household income, weighting by past vote (Federal vote and Voice referendum), with an effective margin of error of 3.31%. Percentages displayed have been rounded to the nearest whole number. See Australian Polling Council methodology statement for full weightings.

This poll was taken immediately after the Senate voted to defer the proposed government migration amendment (removal and other measures) bill so it could conduct an inquiry into the bill. The bill contains a provision that creates a power to designate another country as a “removal concern country”, which will impose a bar on new visa applications from non-citizens outside Australia.

YouGov correctly predicted the result of the recent referendum at 40% Yes, 60% No, and is a founding member of the Australian Polling Council, as well as a global leader in polling research. We are the only polling company to have polled our entire panel of survey participants to ensure our polls are representative of how Australians vote in the Voice referendum.

For further information or comment contact Paul Smith, Director of Public Affairs and Public Data paul.smith@yougov.com or Amir Daftari, Director of Polling amir.daftari@yougov.com.