'New' Migrants in the British Countryside


  • David Storey University of Worcester


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, xenophobia