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Centre of Migration Research

Aleksandra Szkudlarek. 2019.

Brexit and what next? Dilemmas of Polish post-accession migrants in the UK


CMR Working Papers, nr 117(175)


This paper examines the issue of Polish post-accession migration to the UK. The aim of the study was to investigate potential effect of Brexit on initial motivations, strategies and future plans of Poles living in Britain. UK's decision to leave the EU made on 23 June 2016 was undoubtedly an important moment for Polish migrants on the Isles, bringing a lot of uncertainties about their future legal status, pushing initially 'intentionally unpredictable' young people towards rethinking their decisions and taking some action. Drawing on the qualitative study – the in-depth interviews with long-term migrants, conducted in Brighton and London region as a part of YMOBILITY project, potential changes in initially adapted strategies and migrants’ future plans were analysed. The research based on the theoretical notions of 'liquid migration', 'social anchoring' and 'differentiated embedding' is aiming to shed light on factors, which might influence Polish migrants' decision-making process. The results of the study indicate that personal factors seem to be of more importance than political events and determine migrants' future actions.


liquid migration, Brexit, post-accession migrations of Poles, intentional unpredictability, social anchoring, embedding