• international migration;
  • internal migration;
  • post-accession Polish migrants;
  • the UK


This article adds to literatures bridging the divide between internal and international migrations by investigating patterns of internal mobility following the international move of post-accession Polish migrants to the UK. Our analysis is based on a large-scale qualitative study carried out among 83 Polish migrants living in urban and rural locations in England and Scotland. We analyse the reasons behind their initial choice of location in the destination country and the propensity for subsequent internal mobility after arriving in the UK. We consider the role of family characteristics, migration channels, and time in the spatial moves the migrants undertake. In our analysis, we differentiate between residential mobility (which was generally very high among our study participants) and internal mobility (undertaken by one-third of our sample). Our research findings indicate that migrants who arrive through recruitment agencies and do not have children (with them in Britain) are the most internally mobile, whereas those who arrive through personal networks (of family, friends, or acquaintances) and with (especially school-age) children are the least likely to relocate after arriving in the UK. Moreover, it appears that migrants with families are more willing to make urban to rural moves, whereas young and childless migrants favour rural to urban relocations. Notably, the internal migration of some of our (childless) study participants was sometimes interspersed with short-term return migration. Finally, the general propensity to move internally seems to decrease with time: once the migrants secure permanent employment and stable accommodation, they are less willing to uproot again. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.