Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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In the English worldview, “not all immigrants are created equal” (Henderson and Wyn Jones 2021: 91). This paper provides support for the above statement by employing key semantic domain analysis (Rayson 2008) and CDA to answer the research question: How are EU and extra-EU migrants constructed in Brexit-related UK Government documents published between 2016 and 2019? The analysis demonstrates that extra-EU migrants are constructed as a threat that requires UK-EU unity. At the same time, the government’s grammatical and linguistic strategies discursively exclude EU migrants from the British public. The study argues that a neoliberal construction of the acceptable EU migrant erases the identities of migrant workers in so-called “unskilled” roles and foreshadows the social exclusion of these groups brought about by the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system. The paper concludes that the documents problematise Britain’s “tolerant nation” rhetoric and threaten to weaken feelings of belonging to the UK among migrants.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Brexit; immigration; national identity
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