Brexit in Birmingham: EU Migrant Family Businesses

This project attempts to understand the ways in which EU citizens running businesses in the UK are coping with the uncertainty of Brexit. The team interviewed 15 Polish family businesses and 7 families running businesses originating from Baltic states (Latvia and Lithuania) in Birmingham. 

Since the Brexit vote, these migrant entrepreneurs have faced an uncertain future. They may not be allowed to continue to run their businesses or remain in the UK. The research explores how Brexit may impact on the businesses they run, their sense of belonging and the cohesiveness of the communities within which they are situated. Possible loss of EU run businesses could result in direct and indirect job-losses, as well as a reduction in tax, National Insurance and Business Rate contributions. 


The research explores:

  • Lived experiences of life and work in Birmingham for the individuals and their children - feelings of attachment and welcome, responses to media and politicians' narrative.
  • The impact of lived experiences on identification with the UK, future aspirations and investment decisions and how these evolve across the Brexit process.
  • How respondents' translocal connections' attitudes to migration to, and potential investment in the UK changes in response to Brexit and the experiences of their connections living here.

Research team

Publications and downloads

The project is part of wider research into Brexit by IRIS at the University of Birmingham. 

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Funder/client: College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham
Timescale: November 2016 - June 2019


Catherine HarrisProject lead: Catherine Harris