An exploratory study of attitudes toward African migrants and migration among students at the University of the Western Cape
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In the context of recent attacks that occurred against foreign nationals (migrants) in South Africa, this study sought to explore attitudes toward migrants and immigration among a sample of students at the University of the Western Cape. Previous studies in South Africa and elsewhere have suggested that in most countries, nationals tend to hold negative attitudes toward migrants and express protectionist attitudes toward migration policies. Research around students' attitudes toward migrants and immigration has shown similar trends. The present study employed a sample survey design to investigate: a) Students' attitudes toward African migrants, b) Students' attitudes toward migration into South Africa and c) Degree of contact that students have with African Migrants. A convenience sample of 183 undergraduate psychology students was used. Students‟ age ranged between 18 and 38 years of age (x = 20 years). Data was collected using a questionnaire comprising of 27 questions related to attitudes towards migrants and immigration as well as a section on contact with migrants. The results show that students showed exclusionary attitudes in terms of immigration, limited contact with migrants and negative attitudes toward African migrants. However, attitudes toward migrant‟s rights were positive. The implications of these findings are discussed.