About 52 per cent of Bulgarians see immigration from outside the European Union as a problem, while just six per cent see it as an opportunity, according to the results of a Eurobarometer survey released on April 13 2018.
The survey polled 1027 Bulgarians in face-to-face interviews at the end of October 2017.
Twenty-two per cent of Bulgarians saw immigration from non-EU countries as equally a problem and an opportunity, the Eurobarometer poll found.
Fifty-five per cent saw the integration of most immigrants as not successful.
Bulgarians also vastly overestimated the proportion of immigrants in the country – by more than eight times the actual figure. This overestimation was the same in Romania and Poland, though the highest overestimation among EU countries was in Slovakia, where those polled gave figures 14 times the real number.
In Bulgaria, on average those polled estimated the proportion of immigrants as 11.3 per cent, while according to Eurostat, in 2017 the real figure was 1.3 per cent.
Fewer than one per cent of those Bulgarians polled said that they interacted with immigrants on a daily basis.
The Eurobarometer poll found that close to half of the Bulgarians surveyed saw themselves as “not very well informed” about immigration and integration related matters. Thirty-one per cent said that they were not informed at all, 14 per cent said that they were fairly well informed and just four per cent saw themselves as very well informed.
Sixteen per cent of Bulgarians said that matters concerning immigrant were presented “too positively” in the media, 14 per cent said coverage was too negative and 42 per cent said that it was objective.
More than half did not agree that immigrants help to fill jobs for which it is hard to find workers in Bulgaria, and more than half said that immigrants took jobs away in Bulgaria.
Two out of three Bulgarians did not agree that immigrants enrich Bulgaria’s cultural life – for example, in terms of art, music and cuisine.
Seventy per cent of Bulgarians saw immigrants as a burden on the country’s welfare system, and more than two-thirds said that immigrants worsen the crime problems in the country.
Two-thirds of Bulgarians did not believe that immigrants bring new ideas or boost innovation in the country, the Eurobarometer poll found.