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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit
4 May 2022

New Report: British citizens in the EU after Brexit

Today we launch the first of our research briefs. The first of a series focussed on the findings from our recent 'Migration and Citizenship after Brexit' survey, it focusses on the responses of British citizens living in the EU and EEA. Co-authored by the project team, it offers insights into a range of issues including their migration trajectories; residential and nationality status in their country of residence; the impacts of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic on their future migration plans; family life; political participation in the UK and within the EU; and understandings of citizenship, identity and belonging.


If politicians and the media want some insights into who the British diaspora in the EU are in the 21st century, they should read this report, instead of relying on hackneyed stereotypes. They live in all EU countries, from Estonia to Greece, family ties are significant to emigration, and Brexit has strongly affected their relationship to the UK. They are also highly politically engaged but mostly disenfranchised, some completely.

Jane Golding, OBE, former Co-Chair, British in Europe and Chair, British in Germany 


It counteracts common misconceptions of the British residents in the EU/EEA highlighting that this is a largely settled population who plan to stay in their country of residence long-term, with many putting down roots and building families in the European Union, including the formation of British-European families.

It highlights the prominence of family, work and retirement in migration decision-making, with family outweighing both work and retirement as an explanation for potential future migration plans. Importantly, our findings show that Brexit had fundamentally impacts on these future plans, given the reduced opportunities for mobility from the UK to the EU and within the EU since Brexit. This was particularly notable among those in British-European families, where in consequence of Brexit people had different statuses and rights to migration and settlement and where return to the UK with non-British family members now means navigating the UK's domestic immigration controls. 

The findings additionally demonstrate that Brexit and the pandemic had significantly impacted on the feelings of the British citizens towards the UK, in mostly negative ways; highlight their identification as British and European; and draw attention to the extend of political disenfranchisement among this population in the UK and abroad was the prominent story about political participation for those taking part in the survey. 

Download the report here.

To cite this blog:

Benson, M., Zambelli, E., Craven, C., and Sigona, N.(2022) New Report: British citizens in the EU after Brexit. MIGZEN Blog, 4 May 2022.  [Available Online at:]