Willingness to grant asylum has declined; nonetheless, a majority would still grant asylum to refugees fleeing warzones

A two-thirds majority of Czech citizens (65 %) are in favour of the Czech Republic granting asylum to refugees fleeing war-torn countries. Roughly half the population (52 %) agrees that asylum should be granted to those fleeing political persecution. A minority of citizens (43 %) consider persecution on the grounds of religion or nationality to be a sufficient reason to be granted asylum. Only one-quarter of the population (24 %) is in favour of granting asylum to those fleeing a very poor economic situation in their country of origin. Compared with the 2005 survey, the proportion of those who agree that asylum should be granted for the reasons examined here has declined in all cases.

The survey cited here was conducted by the STEM non-profit institute (www.stem.cz) on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 16 to 23 March 2016. Respondents were selected using a quota sampling method, with some 1,050 people taking part in the survey.

As part of its series of surveys focusing on non-nationals living in our country, STEM also looks at the issue of granting asylum to refugees fleeing countries which are unsafe or in which the economic situation is poor. The TRENDS series of surveys also enables us to compare current opinions with the findings of surveys conducted on this topic in 2001 and 2005.

According to the most recent survey carried out in March 2016, an almost two-thirds majority (65 %) of Czechs agree that the Czech Republic should grant asylum to refugees from war-torn countries. Slightly over half of the population (52 %) consider political persecution to be a reason to grant asylum. Roughly two-fifths of the public are in favour of granting asylum on the grounds of persecution for reasons of religion (43 %) or nationality (42 %). Only one-quarter (24 %) of people are prepared to grant asylum to those fleeing a desperate economic situation in their country of origin.

Source: STEM, Trends 3/2016, 1050 respondents aged 18 +

Czech public opinion on granting asylum has changed since the last survey on this topic, carried out over ten years ago. There has been a decline in the proportion of people in favour of granting asylum to refugees in the case of all the reasons for seeking asylum examined in the survey. The most significant decline in the willingness of citizens to grant asylum was for those fleeing on the grounds of a poor economic situation (a fall of 35 percentage points) and for reasons of religion or nationality (a 32 % drop). Attitudes towards granting asylum to those fleeing war saw a relatively less significant decline (falling by 19 %).

Source: STEM, Trends 6/2001, 4/2005, 3/2016

Source: STEM, Trends 6/2001, 4/2005, 3/2016

The over-60s (36 %) are least often inclined to be in favour of granting asylum on the grounds of religion.

Attitudes towards granting asylum to those fleeing persecution for reasons of religion, nationality or race depends on the level of education of respondents. A substantially higher proportion of university graduates would grant refugees asylum on these grounds than is the case for other educational groups.

*Secondary School Leaving Certificate, equiv. A Levels in the UK, High School Diploma in the US
Source: STEM, Trends 3/2016, 1050 respondents aged 18 +

Political affiliation also has a significant impact on attitudes towards granting asylum to refugees. Apart from a desperate economic situation, right-wing voters are more often inclined to be in favour of granting asylum to refugees for the other reasons examined here.

Source: STEM, Trends 3/2016, 1050 respondents aged 18 +