CEEYouth: The comparative study of young migrants from Poland and Lithuania is an interdisciplinary study examining risks faced by young Polish and Lithuanian migrants in the United Kingdom after the Brexit Referendum vote. The central idea of the CEEYouth research project is to determine the life pathways of the young migrants (aged 19 to 34) from the so called ‘new’ European Union (new EU) in contemporary Britain and in relation to (planned or actual) return to their countries of origin, namely Poland and Lithuania. It is argued that the changing political climate, with a pinnacle of the Brexit Referendum vote with consequences, still unraveling, constitutes unprecedented and fast-paced shifts in the institutional, social, economic and political conditioning. The young CEE migrants are particularly susceptible to various implications of Brexit.

Duration: 10.2018 – 09.2021

Funding source: National Science Centre, DAINA scheme

Objectives: (1) To carry out a detailed exploration of various risks young migrants from Poland and Lithuania experience in the context of Brexit; (2) To dynamically analyse how the unfolding consequences of Brexit affect life trajectories of Poles and Lithuanians, with special focus on transitions to adulthood; (3) To comparatively assess social anchoring of young Poles and Lithuanians in the UK; (4) To compare migrating youth from Poland and Lithuania (movers) to the relevant sedentary populations in the sending countries (stayers); (5) To explore and compare the latest return migration of the young Poles and Lithuanians; (6) To distil (if possible) migratory behaviours of mobile ethnic Poles from Lithuania and ethnic Lithuanians from Poland in the UK.

Originality and significance: CEEYouth project brings together two interdisciplinary research fields: migration studies and youth studies and fulfills the knowledge gap on migrating youth in relation to non-migrating peers. There is a great need to conduct a complex and interdisciplinary comparative research where one can compare young Polish and Lithuanian migrants. The project offers a dynamic approach to the young unfolding lives catching various influences on them. Focusing on the consequences of Brexit, the project is as timely as possible. The 2016 Referendum marks the temporal caesura, yet the actual biographies and strategies of Polish and Lithuanians young migrants will be continuously diversified by an array of factors. Chief among them are a degree of formalization of one’s stay (residency, citizenship, vis-à-vis new arrivals), labor market trajectory (stability versus precarity), family situation (i.e. having already established own family of procreation), as well as access to the welfare state (social protections, healthcare) and education.

Methodology: The study relies on the mix-methods: (1) Secondary data analysis of the existing survey datasets; (2) An innovative qualitative technique of asynchronous interviewing (tracking 50 migrants for two years) will be used to collect data dynamically and in a longitudinal perspective; (3) Online survey (CAWI) in Polish and Lithuanian languages as means of reaching out to young migrants in the UK as well as recent returnees in the countries of origin.