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The Fortress Island - What the UK 2014 Immigration Bill Means for UK/EU Relations?

Amy Manktelow

This paper seeks to understand how the 2014 Immigration Bill has impacted upon UK/EU relations. The UK 2014 Immigration Bill is the most restrictive immigration policy passed by the UK since the 1971 Immigration Act. It tightens UK borders by controlling immigrants rights to the welfare system including EU migrants access to benefits, the National Health Service and student visas. It has moved the UK ever further away from the ethos of the freedom of movement so cherished by the EU, which has not gone unnoticed by leaders in Brussels. The paper will investigate if the Bill illustrates a continuing trend of fracturing UK/EU relations or if it is simply political posturing by the UK to sustain its position as the 'outsiders' of EU migration control. To deconstruct the relationship between these two agents I will use Pierre Bourdieu's Field Theory to understand whether the Bill has caused the UK to permanently leave the EU's field of power in terms of migration control or if its role in actors such as FRONTEX and polices such as the ENP will continue to keep the UK part of region wide migration control. This will be done by analysing the 2014 Immigration Bill alongside the reactions of political agents across the EU. The paper will also look forward to predict how the UK/EU will progress beyond the General Election in May 2015.

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