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The hidden impact of Brexit on EU families who left the UK

New research reveals EU families who left the UK after the 2016 referendum are still experiencing the effects of Brexit.

37 migrant families took part in an in-depth study exploring the dynamics of post-Brexit emigration to the EU from the perspective of those who left the UK.

Professor Nando Sigona and Dr Marie Godin published the results of the study in the prestigious academic journal The Sociological Review. The authors examine social expectations and motivations of EU families who experienced post-Brexit emigration against the backdrop of a difficult diplomatic situation with the European Union. The study reveals a number of challenges faced by emigrants.

Brexit was a seismic event, and its aftershocks are still being felt in the lives of EU families. Our research underscores the importance of understanding how political decisions reverberate within households, shaping the futures of individuals and families alike.

The professor also highlights how the experiences of the families involved in the study describe in a unique way the impact of major policy changes on people’s daily lives in Britain.

Dr Marie Godin of Oxford University noted the study gave a voice to a population whose voice was hardly heard in the public debate on Brexit.

Our study delves deep into the untold stories of EU families who decided to leave the UK post-Brexit. It’s a complex web of hopes, challenges, and sacrifices that goes far beyond headlines and statistics.

The research explores common perceptions of ‘coming home’, highlighting intergenerational tensions, challenges and accommodation that the act of ‘returning’ generates.

It reveals the ways in which family members are affected and even describes in some cases how it can lead to fragmentation or breakdown of the family unit, demonstrating the profound impact of Brexit on EU citizens living in the UK.

The study also covers the complex dynamics of decision-making in migrant families. Some returned to their country of birth, while others settled in completely new countries, indicating the multiple challenges faced by those wishing to leave.

This problem led to situations of “involuntary transnationalism,” where some felt compelled to stay, and other families saw leaving as the only possible way. Such a split in opinions and feelings is observed in the different survey results even within the same family.


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