Skip to main content
Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

And then came Brexit: Experiences and future plans of young EU migrants in the London region

Abstract

This paper investigates the potential rupture that the United Kingdom's Brexit referendum of June 23, 2016, might bring about in intra-European Union youth mobilities, with a specific focus on the London region. In many respects, and counter-intuitively given the Brexit result, London has already become a Eurocity: a magnet for young people, both highly educated and less educated, from all over Europe who, especially since the turn of the millennium, have flocked to the city and its wider region to work, study, and play. Now, these erstwhile open-ended migration trajectories have been potentially disrupted by a referendum result that few anticipated, and whose consequential results are still unclear. The main theoretical props for our analysis are the notions of liquid migration, tactics of belonging, whiteness, privilege, and affect. Data are drawn from 60 in-depth interviews with Irish, Italian, and Romanian young-adult students and higher and lower skilled workers, carried out in late 2015 and early 2016, plus 27 reinterviews carried out in late 2016, post-Brexit. Results indicate participants' profound and generally negative reaction to Brexit and, as a consequence, a diversity of uncertainties and of plans over their future mobility: either to stay put using tactics of belonging, or to return home earlier than planned, or to move on to another country. Finally, we find evidence that new hierarchies and boundaries are drawn between intra-European Union migrants as a result of Brexit.

You might also be interested in :

(Un)settling home during the Brexit process
Building upon extensive literature on the concept of home, this article uses narrative interviews to argue that home can be (un)settled. The process of (un)settling home can occur in relation to various circumstances such as widowhood, ill health, or geopolitical changes. This article presents (un)…
“Where are we going to go now?” European Union migrants' experiences of hostility, anxiety, and (non-)belonging during Brexit
This paper examines the impact of the 2016 European Union (EU) referendum and its aftermath from the perspective of European migrants living in Wales. Drawing on interviews conducted with EU nationals in 2016 and 2017…
Between disruptions and connections: “New” European Union migrants in the United Kingdom before and after the Brexit
This paper examines the pre- and post-Brexit experiences and perspectives of migrants from three “new” European Union (EU) countries-Latvia, Poland, and Slovakia-who are living and working or studying in the London area. Deploying the key concepts of power-geometry and relational space…
Brexit, acculturative stress and mental health among EU citizens in Scotland
The `Brexit' referendum represents a hostile shift in the United Kingdom's acculturative context. With its remain majority and pro-migration political discourse, Scotland appears less hostile than the rest of the United Kingdom.

Journal

Population Space and Place

Authors

Aija Lulle (United Kingdom)
Laura Morosanu (United Kingdom)
Russell King (United Kingdom)

Article meta

Country / region covered

Population studied

Year of Publication

Source type

Keywords