Where do We Go from Here? The EU Migration Flows after the Brexit Referendum. Possible Future Scenarios in the Polish Example


Authors: Alexandra David; Anna Barwińska-Małajowicz
Journal: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 9, Number 2 / November 2018

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30884/jogs/2018.02.01

One of the unanswered questions after the Brexit referendum and the follow-up negotiations between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) is the question of migration and the related European free movement of workers. To date, the discussion led by media and some experts concentrates primarily on the future of the EU immigrants who want to stay in the UK after it leaves the EU. This paper discusses several possibilities related to the length of stay of EU immigrants and related long-term-scenarios. The future status of EU immigrants in the UK and of future migrant generations in the UK is taken into consideration. The central question is whether there will be opportunities for new EU immigrants to enter the UK labour market. Alternatively, will the free movement of workers no longer include the British Isles? Between these open questions, debates and negotiations, there are voices that attempt to embed the discussion in a broader European political and societal context. In line with the latter, this article moves away from the ‘EU immigrants remain’ scenario in the UK to ask ‘Where do we go from here?’ by sketching possible Polish migration flows after the UK exits the EU. Moreover, this question sets the topic within a broader debate on Europe's future and argues that the ‘migration crisis’ alone is a symptom of European citizens' growing distrust in their political system. Finally, this article presents a potential approach to continue the EU internal migration flows in a changing European society at a time when Europe is being reshaped by external migration flows.

Keywords: future migration, EU migration flows, Polish migrants, UK immigrants, Brexit, Post-Brexit migration scenarios, New Europe, Free Movement of Workers.