Skip to main content
Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

When (EU) migration came to Great Yarmouth


This article examines the impact of EU migration on Great Yarmouth, a coastal town in Norfolk, England. Great Yarmouth had the fifth highest 'leave' vote nationally in the UK Brexit referendum, at over 70%. In this article, we want to show that Great Yarmouth has always been a town of migration but the sudden arrival of large numbers of EU nationals, exercising their free movement rights, in a relatively short space of time has created divisions in the town, divisions which may take decades to heal. Using legal geography as a prism, we offer an insight into the complex and evolving realities of European integration - and resistance to it. We argue that because EU free movement is a process, not an event, it has long-term effects, effects which have not, to-date, been fully recognised and explored. What we observe in Great Yarmouth is that free movement has, at best, been unevenly experienced by both movers and stayers and, at worst, has a divisive effect on the local community. Only by understanding the experience of migration on a particular community over time can the impact of free movement be properly understood, its consequences continuing long after Brexit.

You might also be interested in :

Free movement of services, migration and leaving the EU
For many people the key question in the referendum is whether a vote to leave will enable the UK to take back control of its borders. So for them the focus is primarily on Article 45 on the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which allows free movement of workers.
Free movement Vs. fair movement: Brexit and managed migration
The aim of this article is to propose a new concept of free movement of persons, based on the notion of "fair movement" or managed migration. In the context of the UK becoming a neighbouring State, but hoping to maintain access to the Single Market…
The changing status of European Union nationals in the United Kingdom following Brexit: The lived experience of the European Union Settlement Scheme
Following Brexit, European Union citizens now find their rights to live and work in the UK have changed and they had to make an application under the European Union Settlement Scheme, established under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement…
The Rule of Law and Access to the Courts for EU Migrants
The ability of workers generally to enforce their labour rights in the UK has been a matter of ongoing discussion over a number of years. However, the dominance of the topic of immigration in the Brexit debates, along with questions surrounding the need for, and position of…


Contemporary Social Science


Catherine Barnard (United Kingdom)
Fiona Costello (United Kingdom)

Article meta

Country / region covered

Year of Publication

Source type