The Contestation of Family Rights of Migrants in Europe's Free Movement Regime: Brexit and Beyond

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Majella KILKEY, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Louise RYAN, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
In this article we bring together different sources of data, including critical policy analysis, stakeholder interviews and migrant interviews, and adopt an historical and comparative lens, to explore migrants’ lived experiences of shifting migration regimes. The central focus is migrants’ family rights within the European Union (EU) Freedom of Movement Regime. Our particular emphasis is on the potential implications of Brexit - the UK's withdrawal from the EU - and the shifting migration rights this entails, for EU migrants in the UK and their family members back home in other EU Member States. Understanding migrants’ family rights as constituted at the intersection of migration and welfare policies, in our policy analysis we examine two aspects: firstly, the formation of a ‘family of choice’ in terms of family/household membership and its geographical location - co-territorial in the UK or transnational; and secondly the distribution of economic risk between the UK State and the individual (family) for forming a ‘family of choice’. Detailed policy analysis of the potential implications of Brexit is supplemented with two sets of interview data. The first comprises data from interviews with policy stakeholders in the EU, the UK and Germany, examining the position of family rights in the European Freedom of Movement Regime, and the dimensions of contestation of family rights in the 'Brexit debate'. The second comprises data from interviews with EU migrants living in the UK both before and after the Brexit decision about the role of family rights within the EU Freedom of Movement regime in their migration and family projects.