Here to Stay? Identity, Belonging and Citizenship among Settled Central and Eastern European Children and Young People in the Uk, 2016-2018



This was the first large scale study focussing on children and young people who had migrated to the UK from countries in Central and Eastern Europe after the Eastern enlargement of the European Union in 2004 and 2007. It aimed to document their everyday experiences of living in the UK and their sense of national identity and belonging. Focusing on children and young people aged 12-18 of Central and Eastern European migrants living in the UK, the study provided a unique understanding on migrant young people's long term experiences of settlement, exploring family, peer and community social networks. Another key area of investigation was young people's expressed needs in terms of services they used (e.g. education, health, leisure), issues in access and the extent to which services were meeting their needs. Third, we explored the factors that enable children of Central and Eastern European migrants to adapt to the new social, economic and political context of the regions in which they lived in the UK, as they negotiate new national, cultural and political identities in the context of a changing Europe and Britain exiting the EU. Data was be generated through a survey of 1,120 young people across six urban, semi-urban/rural areas in the UK and focus groups with 108 young people. In depth case studies with 20 families were also be conducted. A young people's advisory group had a central role in the project development and dissemination. The research findings informed public debate, policy makers and service providers on the experiences of Central and Eastern European young migrants settled in Britain. The EU Referendum took place a few months before the start of the fieldwork and became a central aspect of the study, given the uncertainty it created over the status of EU nationals in the context of the Brexit transition. The originality of the project stems from the consideration given to the ways in which Central Eastern European young people living in diverse geographical spaces across the UK were engaged in on-going, dynamic processes of making sense of the world, and their place within it, at local, national and global levels. The study filled a gap in information on newly settled migrant communities. Information on settled migrant young people's social practices, future aspirations, sense of cultural and national identity and belonging provided insights into the extent of European migrant communities' integration in the UK, in the context of various representations of 'nation' that circulated in policy, political and public discourses at a time of intense debate on Britain's place in Europe and EU nationals' rights post-Brexit. The study addressed the relative absence of migrant young people's voices in public debates and provided policy makers and the public with an improved understanding of the lives of children who were originally migrants, but have settled in the UK. While Brexit has made some re-evaluate their plans to remain in Britain long term, and led to an increase in experiences of racism, xenophobia and discrimination for many, young people seemed generally satisfied with their lives in Britain. This information was disseminated widely, to benefit migrant families, service providers, policy makers and the general public. An arts exhibition was also organised.

The Data Collection is available for download to users registered with the UK Data Service.
Date made available21 Jul 2021
Temporal coverage2016 - 2018
Date of data production2016 - 2018
Geographical coverageUnited Kingdom

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