Skip to main content
Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Spanish nationals' future plans in the context of Brexit


This paper examines the future plans of Spanish nationals resident in the United Kingdom following the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union, commonly referred to as Brexit. Drawing on the literature on migration decision-making, the paper asks how changes to rights-based ideas of belonging and identity in the wake of the Brexit vote will impact on Spanish nationals' decisions about the future. Using results from an online survey, the paper explores Spanish nationals' plans for the future, their sense of feeling of “at home” in the United Kingdom, and their views on Brexit. Recognising that the community is not homogenous, the paper considers the different experiences of Latin Americans with Spanish nationality and Spaniards who were born in Spain. Feelings of belonging are contingent and shift over time, and Brexit is perceived negatively by the vast majority of respondents. However, a number of factors such as time in the country and family relationships affect planned future length of time in the United Kingdom. Individuals respond differently to the uncertainty provoked by the referendum, with Latin Americans with Spanish nationality reporting a greater desire to take the necessary steps to establish themselves permanently in the United Kingdom.

You might also be interested in :

Analysing migrants' ageing in place as embodied practices of embedding through time: 'Kilburn is not Kilburn any more'
There is growing attention to how people navigate and make sense of particular places through the ageing process. Against this backdrop, there is increasing research on ageing in contexts of migration. Although much of this research focuses on retirement and return migration…
And then came Brexit: Experiences and future plans of young EU migrants in the London region
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…
Belonging in Brexit Britain: Central and Eastern European 1.5 generation young people's experiences
In this paper, we examine the experiences of young people born in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) who are part of the 1.5 migrant generation living in “Brexit Britain.” We focus on two key themes: (a) young people's feelings of belonging to Britain, their countries of birth and Europe…
Revisiting geographies of temporalities: The significance of time in migrant responses to Brexit
In this article, we look at the role of time and temporalities in migrant responses to the result of the 2016 European Union referendum in the United Kingdom, that is, Brexit. Although some attention has been paid to affective “first reactions” to Brexit…


Population Space and Place


Helen N. J. McCarthy (United Kingdom)

Article meta

Country / region covered

Population studied

Year of Publication

Source type