Brexit before Brexit: The Impact on EU Mobilities to the UK

Thursday, July 13, 2017
JWS - Stevenson Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Alessio D'Angelo , Middlesex University
Eleonore Kofman , Middlesex University
The vote for Brexit  arising from the referendum of 23 June 2016, in which the argument of regaining control of immigration played a major role, has pushed to the fore an empireless imperial vision of the UK, unbound from the fetters of EU regulations and triumphantly riding the waves of globalisation. It has also unleashed in some areas undisguised hostility and serious hates crimes towards EU migrants, especially Eastern Europeans, who have often settled in localities with previously low levels of international immigration.  Though increasing in numbers in recent years, Southern Europeans have largely settled in London and other large cities which tended to vote to remain.

In this paper we suggest that an assertive and strident statement of national identity, belonging and sovereignty has begun to change the view Europeans have of the UK, particularly England.   This  repositioning of the UK and the sense of a lack of belonging  now felt by many Europeans, are  likely to result in lower levels of EU immigration and  long-term settlement prior to any changes to the legal status of European citizens in the UK. Based on immigration statistics post the referendum, we shall also compare whether this changed relationship has had a differential impact on mobility patterns of Eastern and Southern Europeans.