Migrant NHS nurses as ‘tolerated’ citizens in post-Brexit Britain

Georgia Spiliopoulos, Stephen Timmons

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


With this article we present European Union (EU) and non-EU nurses’ lived experiences of feeling ‘unwelcomed’ and ‘unsettled’ in a heightened xenophobic environment, in the workplace and elsewhere, following the 2016 EU Referendum. Brexit has exposed long-standing structural inequalities which oppress and disempower the NHS migrant labour force. Migrant nurses, a highly mobile and skilled workforce, were feeling increasingly disenfranchised and insecure in their employment. Drawing on notions such as tolerated citizenship and the contested political boundaries of belonging, and taking a situated intersectionality approach, we examine everyday bordering practices in the UK where the cultivation of a hostile environment is becoming increasingly prevalent. We contribute to the debates on forms of othering in post-Brexit Britain and question the instrumentality of policy interventions, closely connected to the ‘dangerous politics of immigration control’, which have far-reaching implications for long-term settlement of migrant nurses and other healthcare migrant workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-200
Number of pages18
JournalSociological Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Brexit
  • everyday bordering practices
  • migrant nurses
  • National Health Service
  • tolerated citizenship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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