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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Spanish nationals' future plans in the context of Brexit

Abstract

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.

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Journal

Population Space and Place

Author

Helen N. J. McCarthy (United Kingdom)

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Population studied

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