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Drawing on theory from critical language policy literature, this article explores the impact of discourses on in-migration on Welsh language policy.

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This article explores why the subject of in-migration has been characterised by silence and reluctance. First and foremost, it responds to recent critiques of the ‘historical-structural’ approach by adopting a discourse analytic approach that focusses on the agents, contexts and policy processes across multiple layers, while simultaneously giving adequate attention to the wider power structures at play in policy-making processes.

By doing so, the analysis provides an important balance between structure and agency, thus making an important contribution to extant theoretical discussions on language ideological debates and discourses in the critical language policy literature.

It argues that, while certain actors have been able to construct a powerful discourse on in-migration through language debates, others have failed to make their voices heard and their views on the subject have been silenced.

This unequal access to the production of discourse is not incidental; it is indicative of wider power structures at play within bilingual or multilingual language communities.

The article applies theoretical discussions on language ideologies and discourses in the language policy literature to the case of Wales.

This has both empirical and analytical value for the study of Wales as well as the field of language policy in general.Thus far, apart from contributions from Brooks (), which analyses a language ideological debate on the Welsh language in the context of a BBC website, there has been little in the way of analysis of the interrelationship between language debates, discourses and language policy in the field of in-migration.).The article, therefore, leads to a greater understanding of the political and power dynamics at play during discursive debates on the Welsh language and in-migration.In addition, the varied socio-linguistic context in Wales means that certain areas of Wales feel the effects of in-migration from the rest of the UK more acutely.This article concentrates on north-west Wales, where there has been considerably more policy action and in-migration, as a means to exemplify how discursive debates can impact on policy.It then provides an explanation for adopting a critical approach to language policy that concentrates on both structure and agency.

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