EU post-accession Polish migrants trajectories and their settlement practices in Scotland

Emilia Pietka-Nykaza, Derek McGhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
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The presence and the apparent permanence of post-accession EU migrants in the UK is of significant interest to both academics and politicians. Studies have debated whether migration from new accession countries to the UK mark a new type of migration often described as ‘liquid’ and ‘open ended’, or whether these migrants will settle in the new destination countries. Based on a qualitative study of Poles who have lived in Scotland for at least six years, we observed four typologies of what we call migrants’ settling practices: (1) stayers, (2) over-stayers, (3) circular and transnational migrants and (4) economic migrants. The findings from this study demonstrate that Polish migrants do not have fixed ideas about the duration of their migration (in terms of a sense of permanence) but instead focus on diverse links, anchors or attachments in Scotland and Poland in describing their settling practices. Thus, the main contribution the article makes is to present an in-depth understanding of what settlement means from the perspective of migrants themselves. This paper concludes by providing a short comment on implications of the outcome of the Referendum on EU membership ‘Brexit’ in June 2016 on Polish migrants settling practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1433
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studie
Issue number9
Early online date6 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Settlement
  • Settling practices
  • EU post-accession migration
  • Polish migrants
  • Brexit


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