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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Decision-making and the trajectories of young Europeans in the London region: the planners, the dreamers, and the accidental migrants


This paper focuses on the intra-EU movement of young adults from Finland, Poland, and Spain who have settled, short- or long-term, in London and its wider region. In our comparative analysis, we find that the 46 interviewees differ in the way in which they took the original decision to move to the UK. Study, work, career, life goals, and lifestyle are the main variables shaping, in various combinations, migration decisions and plans. We categorize the decision-making and subsequent trajectories into three groups based on migrants' life-stories. The first group, the planners, had a long-term plan to move abroad with well-defined objectives of what they hoped to achieve. The second group, the dreamers, had the idea to move abroad someday, but then decided to activate the idea rather suddenly. The third group, the accidental migrants, moved abroad almost by accident, having had no prior plans, but responded to the opportunity when it arose out of a chance event, and had no specific plans as to what they would do abroad. The boundaries between these groups are somewhat blurred and the mobile individual's attitudes and motivation towards migration may change over time. Examining the decision-making process of current migrants helps to estimate how inbound mobility to the UK from the EU might change in the new post-Brexit migration scenario.

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Aija Lulle (United Kingdom)
Russell King (United Kingdom)
Carmen Leon-Himmelstine (United Kingdom)

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