Professor Bernard Ryan

Professor of Migration law

Bernard Ryan

School/Department: Leicester Law School

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3595



I have been Professor of Migration Law at the University of Leicester since 2013. I am a graduate of University College Dublin and hold a PhD from the European University Institute. I was previously Professor of Law at the University of Kent.

I am the co-chair of the Migration and Law Network which promotes the study of migration law in British universities.

I chair the Migration Mobility and Citizenship network at the University of Leicester.


My recent publications and current research cover the following topics:

  • The effects of migration upon employment law
  • The British-Irish common travel area
  • The history of British nationality law
  • EU citizenship and migration to Britain


Selected publications

'From Labour Migration to Employment Law Reform: A Comparative Interpretation’ in Bernard Ryan and Rebecca Zahn (eds), Migrant Labour and the Reshaping of Employment Law (Hart Publishing, 2023)

‘Migration in Employment Law Scholarship in Britain: Going Beyond Methodological Nationalism’ in Bernard Ryan and Rebecca Zahn (eds), Migrant Labour and the Reshaping of Employment Law (Hart Publishing, 2023)

'Recognition after All: Irish Citizens in Post-Brexit Immigration Law' (2020) 34 Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality Law 284-305

'Selective Citizenship: How the Court of Justice Linked Security of Residence to Integration' (2019) 21 European Journal of Migration and Law 374-399

'The Migration Crisis and the European Union Border Regime' in Marise Cremona and Joanne Scott (eds), EU Law Beyond EU Borders: The Extraterritorial Reach of EU Law (Oxford University Press, 2019)

'Negotiating the Right to Remain after Brexit' (2017) 31 Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality Law 197-226

'At the Borders of Sovereignty: Nationality and Immigration Policy in an Independent Scotland' (2014) 28 Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality Law 146-164

Bernard Ryan and Valsamis Mitsilegas (eds), Extraterritorial Immigration Control: Legal Challenges (2010, Martinus Nijhoff), pp 3-37

'The Celtic Cubs: The Controversy over Birthright Citizenship in Ireland' (2004) 6 European Journal of Migration and Law 173-193

'The Ian Paisley Question: Irish Citizenship and Northern Ireland' (2003) 25 Dublin University Law Journal 116-147

'The Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland' (2001) 64 Modern Law Review 855-874


I am available to supervise topics concerned with British and international migration law and policy. I have a particular interest in

  • All aspects of nationality law, especially British law, comparative law and international law
  • Labour migration law and policy, including links to employment law
  • Racial discrimination in nationality and immigration law, historically and in the present
  • Decolonisation and nationality law
  • International law relating to border control.

Research projects can cover British law, comparative law, international law. I welcome historical, political and sociological approaches to the subject area, as well as legal ones.

Recent or current PhD projects that I have co-supervised at the University of Leicester have covered the following:

  • Temporary labour migration schemes in East Asia (completed)
  • Asylum systems in Central Asia (completed)
  • Racialisation in the history of Colombia's nationality law (ongoing) 
  • Climate refugees (ongoing)
  • The origins of the Windrush scandal (ongoing) 



Immigration Law (LLB module) International Migration and Refugee Law (LLM module)

Press and media

British nationality law

Brexit and immigration law, including the EU settlement scheme

The legal rights of migrant workers

UK border control, including the Channel migration.


PhD in Law, European University Institute

Bachelor of Civil Law, University College Dublin (first class)

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