Published July 26, 2022 | Version v1
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British-European families after Brexit

  • 1. Lancaster University
  • 2. University of Birmingham


British-European families after Brexit reports on the responses to the survey ‘Migration and Citizenship after Brexit’ by 418 British, EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nationals living in the UK or the EU who identified they were part of family where at least one close member held a different citizenship or migration status from other family members. It explores how Brexit transformed statuses within families, how the changes to citizens’ rights were experienced by these individuals and their families, including the related emotional and legal impacts, as well as its consequences for their future plans about where to live. 

Since the Brexit referendum, differences in citizenship and migration status within families had become an issue of concern, with half of those in such families identifying that it had affected their decisions to move on or stay put. Family was identified as a central motivation in decisions about where to live, both when this had resulted in migration in the past and when it came to thinking about future residential mobility. 

A major theme within their accounts was that of Brexit-constrained future mobilities. The loss or risk of losing the freedom of movement attached to EU citizenship dominated the concerns of respondents in a mixed-status family including at least one British citizen. The impact of differences of status within families on their present and future rights to mobility and, to a lesser extent, the COVID-19 pandemic also emerged as significant sources of concern.

These concerns were often accompanied by strong negative feelings, in consequence of Brexit finding themselves for the first time questioned about their entitlement to live and move in and out of their country of choice based on will and/or need. 

Overall, for some, Brexit introduced new borders into their lives, with families that previously shared the same status remade as mixed-status families. For other families, who already had mixed migration statuses, Brexit deepened the impacts of the borders on their lives. This reveals further impacts of Brexit at the level of the family, making, fracturing and reconstituting their ties within one or multiple countries and affecting their own and their family members’ mobility and settlement options as a family.


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Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit (MIGZEN) ES/V004530/1
UK Research and Innovation