Skip to main content
Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Migration uncertainty in the context of Brexit: resource conservation tactics

Abstract

The Brexit referendum has led to uncertainty, which has threatened EU migrants' resources, including their rights to reside, to run a business or access welfare. Cross-national political and legal resources that include citizenship rights can enable migrants' access to health care, pensions, education and other welfare benefits, but these remain far from guaranteed. Using Conservation of Resources theory, we show how coping with uncertainty requires the mobilisation of individual and collective resources. We draw on 55 qualitative interviews to explore how three groups of EU migrants, entrepreneurs, Somali onward migrants and British retirees in Spain, respond to Brexit-related uncertainty. We examine the ways migrants utilise individual and social resources to respond to such uncertainty and explore their local, national and transnational coping tactics. Our data build on existing knowledge around the relationship between migration and uncertainty and enable the development of Conservation of Resources theory in relation to migration and transnationalism. We show how migrants draw upon wide-ranging transnational resources, which complement the local resources that are usually the focus of the theory. As such, we provide a useful mechanism to understand migration and uncertainty, which may have utility in considering other migration crises or stresses.

You might also be interested in :

EU nationals' vulnerability in the context of Brexit: the case of Polish nationals
Since the late 1990s, populist discourse based on anti-immigration sentiments has been on the rise in Britain. This phenomenon reached a peak during the EU Referendum (ER) campaign and shortly thereafter.
EU post-accession Polish migrants trajectories and their settlement practices in Scotland
The presence and the apparent permanence of post-accession EU migrants in the UK is of significant interest to both academics and politicians. Studies have debated whether migration from new accession countries to the UK mark a new type of migration often described as liquid' and open ended'…
Subversive citizens: using EU free movement law to bypass the UK's rules on marriage migration
In 2012, new and restrictive spousal reunification laws were implemented in the UK. EU free movement rules, however, have enabled British citizens to circumvent those restrictions by residing for a period in another Member State, and then returning with their family member to the UK.
The impacts of international migration on the UK's ethnic populations
The United Kingdom faces demographic uncertainty, as negotiations for leaving the European Union (Brexit) proceed. Brexit has implications for international migration into and out of the UK, dependent on future immigration policy and on how attractive the UK will be as a labour market.

Journal

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

Authors

Kelly Hall (United Kingdom)
Jenny Phillimore (United Kingdom)
Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska (United Kingdom and Poland)
Özlem Ögtem-Young (United Kingdom)
Catherine Harris (United Kingdom)

Article meta

Country / region covered

Populations studied

Year of Publication

Source type

Keywords