'New' Migrants in the British Countryside

David Storey


The eastward expansion of the European Union (EU) in the early 2000s had a
number of consequences. One of these, deriving from the EU principle of
freedom of movement and the associated relaxation of border restrictions, was a
marked increase in migration from the new member states into the longer
established western ones. Within the United Kingdom much of that migration
was towards larger urban centres, but a relatively high (and perhaps unexpected)
proportion was to smaller towns, villages and more rural areas. This article
explores the extent of this migration and, more specifically, it seeks to highlight
some of the reactions to it. In doing so, there is a focus on rural parts of the
English west midlands, in particular the county of Herefordshire. The article
places this migratory movement within the context of increased east-west
migration more generally, the regulatory environment surrounding it, and the
broader responses to it at a national level.
Keywords: migration, Eastern Europe, employment, media reactions,

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.