‘European deportations: UK exclusion of EU citizens to take back control’

The first in a new series of  seminars led by the Sheffield Migration Research Group (MRG) will focus on Dr Agnieszka Radziwinowiczówna’s recent research exploring ‘European deportations: UK exclusion of EU citizens to take back control’. Dr Michaela Benson will join the seminar as a discussant.

Date: Thursday 25th June

Time: 12.30 – 2.00pm (UK time)

Platform: Blackboard collaborate

If you would like to participate in the seminar, please register your interest here and you will receive a link to join. Places are limited.


European deportations: UK exclusion of EU citizens to take back control

On the 30th of April 2020, under the national lockdown in the UK, a chartered flight left Stansted airport with 35 deportees and as many Home Office escorts on board. One of the passengers had been tested positive after showing COVID-19 symptoms in detention and nonetheless had boarded the plane; others were not tested at all. It was impossible to keep sufficient distance between the passengers to prevent the spread of the deadly disease on the plane. The flight was headed to Poland in spite of the fact that the Polish borders had been closed for 47 days. The deportees had to go home for compulsorily 14-days self-isolation – of course, if they still had a place they could call “home” in Poland.

During this seminar I will present the genealogy of the April deportation flight to Poland. I will explain why European Union citizens are deported during the Brexit transition period, when the EU Treaties and the four freedoms (including the Freedom of Movement) remain in force in the UK. The Home Office started targeting the EU citizens with its hostile environment policy even before the British voted to leave the European Union. I will argue that the UK used the forced removals in order to negotiate state sovereignty from the European Union. Similarly, the EU Settlement Scheme and the new points-based immigration system may convert the EU citizens into undocumented and thus deportable immigrants. This exclusion-based negotiation of sovereignty has not affected all the EU citizens equally but has disproportionally targeted the citizens of the “new” Member States. These examples evidence a longue durée process of excluding more vulnerable Europeans, practices which look set to escalate following the UK’s transition from the EU.


Dr Agnieszka Radziwinowiczówna

Agnieszka Radziwinowiczówna is Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton working on a research project entitled “Brexit and Deportations: Towards a Comprehensive and Transnational Understanding of a New System Targeting EU Citizens” (BRAD). Her research experience involves the study of deportation in the UK, Mexico and the USA, transnational care and migration-driven socio-cultural change in Poland and the UK.  Between 2014 and 2018 Agnieszka worked at the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw, starting as a Research Assistant before being appointed a Lecturer in 2016. Agnieszka is co-author of Ethnomorality of Care: Migrants and their Aging Parents (Routledge 2018), written together with Anna Rosińska and Weronika Kloc-Nowak. She also co-authored the book Migrants as Agents of Change: Social Remittances in an Enlarged European Union (Palgrave 2016) together with Izabela Grabowska, Michał P. Garapich and Ewa Jaźwińska. Currently Agnieszka is working on her third book Living/Leaving the Deportation Regime: The Removed and the Immobile in Rural Mexico (Springer)


Dr Michaela Benson

Michaela Benson is a Reader at Goldsmiths University of London. An ethnographer and sociologist, over the course of her career, she has contributed to several fields of sociological enquiry at their intersections: migration and citizenship, social class, place and belonging. She is a leading figure in research on lifestyle migration, with an extensive record of publications in this field, most recently Lifestyle Migration and Colonial Traces in Malaysia and Panama (Palgrave, 2018), a collaboration with her long-term co-author Karen O’Reilly. She is currently a recipient of the British Academy’s Mid-Career Fellowship, for the project Britain and its overseas citizens: from decolonisation to Brexit. This builds on her career-long research expertise in contemporary British emigration, notably through her leadership of the BrExpats research project (2017-19), which examined Brexit and its impacts for the 1.2 million Britons resident in the EU-27 and her monograph The British in Rural France (Manchester University Press, 2011), a book subsequently shortlisted for the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial Prize (2012).

For more information, please contact Rebecca Murray: r.e.murray@sheffield.ac.uk.