Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit
The Impact of Brexit on Young Poles and Lithuanians in the UK: Reinforced Temporariness of Migration Decisions
The main aim of this paper is to assess the extent to which the 2016 Brexit referendum impacted on the decisions of young Polish and Lithuanian migrants to stay in the UK or return to the country of origin. We analyse information from 76 in-depth semi-structured interviews with Lithuanians and Poles living in the UK, as well as those who have returned to Lithuania and Poland since June 2016. We find that, for our interviewees, the referendum had little impact on the decision to stay in the UK or return to the country of origin, giving way, instead, to work, family and lifestyle considerations. Only for a select few did it act as a trigger, either adding to other reasons which eventually prompted the return to Lithuania or Poland, or motivating people to secure their rights in the UK and delay plans to leave the country. We conclude by discussing our results together with existing research on transnationalism and life-course migration theory: regardless of interviewees' decisions to stay or return, these were never final, stressing the fluid nature of migration and the desire of our interviewees to maintain ties across multiple places.
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