This article explores the intersections of borderwork and boundary work in everyday encounters in the UK. It focuses on the experiences of Romanian nationals, who between 2007 and 2014 were subject to transitional controls, which are understood as a form of everyday re-bordering of the de-bordered space of the EU that denied equal access to the labour market and state support. These controls were accompanied by a range of bordering discourses in the media and political circles that firmly situated Romanians outside of the UK’s contemporary political project of belonging. This article argues that in order to understand borderwork in everyday life, we need to explore how it relates to boundary work, i.e. the differential positionalities of Romanians within social hierarchies, as well as their experiences of and engagement with emotion work. The data analysed comes from participant observation with Romanian communities in London and the North East of England in the period from 2009 to 2014.