Skip to main content
Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

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, the analysis explores the way that Brexit impacted the migrants' connections to the U.K. “bounded space” and their ongoing mobility behaviour and plans. Empirical evidence comes from 35 in-depth interviews with migrants, most of whom were interviewed both before and after the referendum of June 23, 2016. We find that migrants are unequally positioned socio-spatially to deal with the new power-geometries resulting from Brexit, and we detect diverging trajectories between the more highly skilled and high-achieving EU citizens and the more disadvantaged low-skilled labour migrants. First, we probe the uncertainties brought about by juridical status, related to the length of stay in Britain. Second, we explore personal and professional connections and disruptions. Third, we question how the power-geometries of time, juridical status, and personal/professional connections/disruptions shape future mobility plans.

You might also be interested in :

Decision-making and the trajectories of young Europeans in the London region: the planners, the dreamers, and the accidental migrants
This paper focuses on the intra-EU movement of young adults from Finland, Poland, and Spain who have settled, short- or long-term, in London and its wider region. In our comparative analysis…
(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)…
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.


Population Space and Place


Aija Lulle (United Kingdom)
Russell King (United Kingdom)
Veronika Dvorakova (United Kingdom)

Article meta

Country / region covered

Population studied

Year of Publication

Source type