Category Archives: Immigration

EU citizens in the UK. Elena Remigi speaks at the Advice to Justice Conference in Liverpool

Elena Remigi (InLimbo) speaks at the Advice to Justice Conference in Liverpool (7th September 2021).

Check out our presentation “Where´s home? EU citizens as migrants” at Approaches to migration, language and identity 2020 AMLI Conference (www) University of Sussex, Wednesday 9 – Friday 11 June 2021

Pascual Pérez-Paredes & Elena Remigi
Universidad de Murcia / The In Limbo Project


Since January 2021, UK and EU citizens can no longer exercise freedom of movement between the two areas. EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK before 31 December 2020 have been forced to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. In practical terms, EU citizens have become a new migrant community. The 2016 Brexit referendum started a period of uncertainty, agony and frustration for both EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU that ended with the trade deal that the EU and the UK made public on 24 December 2020. The anger, the sense of betrayal (Bueltmann, 2020) and various mental health issues (Reimer, 2018; Bueltmann, 2020), however, linger on. This study uses a corpus of 200 testimonies from EU citizens in the UK to explore their feelings and reactions to Brexit and the hostile environment (Leudar et al., 2008) that emerged soon after the referendum. The In Limbo corpus of testimonies contains personal accounts by EU citizens living in Britain from 2017 until 2020. It has 81,000 tokens and 7,600 types. The collection of the data was organised by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis. The testimonies in Remigi, E., Martin, V., & Sykes (2020) were chosen as the basis of our corpus.

We used keyword (Baker, 2006; Baker et al., 2008) and collocation (Baker, 2006; Pérez-Paredes, Aguado & Sánchez, 2017; Pérez-Paredes, 2020) analyses to explore the self-representation of EU citizens across four emerging areas of interest: family life, loss of identity, feeling unwelcome and representations of post-Brexit Britain, including discourses about settled status and Britishness. In order to moderate the impact of Brexit-as-a-topic in the analysis of the narratives, we used two reference corpora in our study: the Brexit corpus and the enTenTen 2015, both provided through Sketch Engine. We used Wodak’s (2001) framework of analysis of representation strategies to pin down our discussion of the discourses emerging in the testimonies. Two strategies appear to be relevant in the context of our data: predication and perspectivation. The former is used mainly when expressing feelings about the UK while the latter are crucial to deliver the narratives discursively. While our research confirms some of the conclusions in the survey conducted by Bueltmann (2020), the combination of corpus-based CDA methods and the rich data provided through these narratives open up further understanding of the discursive strategies used by EU citizens when resisting the anti-EU environment that was unleashed in the wake of Brexit. Our analysis provides an alternative representation of the consequences and impact of Brexit on EU migrants that is in contrast with the recent triumphalist discourse of the Tory government that misrepresents EU citizens as happily embracing the settled status scheme.

Keywords: Brexit, EU citizens, migrants, keyword analysis, representation strategies

Migration Towards a European agenda on Migration

The plight of thousands of migrants putting their lives in peril to cross the Mediterranean has shocked. It is clear that no EU country can or should be left alone to address huge migratory pressures. The European Commission’s agenda on migration sets out a European response, combining internal and external policies, making best use of EU agencies and tools, and involving all actors: EU countries and institutions, international organisations, civil society, local authorities and national partners outside the EU.

Read the whole story.

Why “migrants” and not “immigrants”?

It’s fair to say that almost anyone who takes the risks associated with these trips is likely to be desperate and is seeking refuge. But to label all those aboard the ships as refugees may not be accurate. The word migrants, however, fits. Webster’s says that to migrate is to “move from one place to another.” A migrant, in turn, is “a person, bird, or animal that migrates.”

The word also conveys what is happening: Large numbers of people are on the move, looking for homes. They are migrating across hundreds or thousands of miles.

The word “immigrants” is not being used in most media reports. There’s a sad reason. To immigrate, Webster’s notes, is to “come into a new country, region or environment … esp. in order to settle there.”

Tragically, the hundreds who died this month did not reach their destinations.

Note: We know there are also legal definitions of the words migrant and refugee. The International Organization for Migration has posted its glossary here. This post and Saturday’s “Word Matters” conversation, however, are about the way news outlets use the words, not international agencies.

Mark Memmott is NPR’s standards and practices editor. He co-hosted The Two Way from its launch in May 2009 through April 2014.

NPR Link in case the player fails to upload below.


Read our own research on the issue here.

Representing migrants in the UK and Italian press (Taylor, 2014)


Taylor, C. (2014) Investigating the representation of migrants in the UK and Italian press: A cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse analysis.International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 19(3), 368-400.

This paper is a cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse study of the representation of migrants in the Italian and UK press and it adopts a two-stage methodological approach. In the first phase, the number of references to nationalities which collocate with refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, migrants (and Italian equivalents) are calculated and this information is subsequently used to identify any ‘mismatch’ between the amount of attention that migrants from a given country receive in the media and the official population estimates. In the second, and most extensive stage, the representations of the foregrounded nationalities are analysed through the moral panic framework. Results show an extensive negative representation of some groups, but there is no evidence of a fully iterated moral panic relating to any of the nationalities investigated.

Expats and immigrants in the GloWbE corpus


In particular, when people move from less wealthy nations (for example, Bangladesh, Haiti, and Mexico) to more wealthy nations, they tend to be described as immigrants. When they move from more wealthy nations (for example, the US, the UK, and Australia or “The West” generally) to any other country, they are more likely to be labelled expats. Furthermore, people who move across borders without highly valued skill sets are labelled immigrants (and sometimes called low skill or unskilled immigrants), although there is discussion of high-skilled immigrants as well. In contrast, expats are generally assumed to have wealth and/or some type of highly valued skill set. In short, upon arrival, expats are often elites in their new homes.

Read the whole feature on