The British government’s new white paper on immigration has been shaped by a social norm which argues that the white British ethnic majority's interest in limiting the pace of cultural change and facilitating assimilation is racist.
The emphasis on skills rather than numbers, on economic over cultural considerations, and on rebalancing immigration away from Europe speaks to this. The document reflects the thinking of both Brexit and Remain politicians. Yet it does not align with the motives of many who voted Leave, or a considerable chunk of those who voted Remain. These voters seek lower levels of immigration, and research shows that this is driven more by identity threat than by economic considerations. If immigration numbers remain where they are after Brexit, but shift toward non-Europeans with skills, this could just as easily increase as decrease populist pressures.