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Durham University

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Here To Stay? Identity, Belonging And Citizenship Among Eastern European Settled Migrant Children in the UK

A research project of the School of Education, part of the International and Comparative Education research group.


The research explores the lives of young people who arrived as migrant children from Eastern and Central European countries after the EU enlargement in 2004. It examines the effect migration has had on their lives, family relationships and friendships, and sense of identity and belonging in the UK society.


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • 'Here To Stay? Identity, Belonging And Citizenship Among Eastern European Settled Migrant Children in the UK' grant from ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (INNOGEN).


Focussing on Central Eastern European young people aged 12-18, the study provides a unique understanding of migrant children’s long-term experiences of settlement. We would like to know how young people who have come to the UK from Central and Eastern Europe engage with the social, economic and political contexts of the regions in which they live. The study has four main objectives:

1) To document the long-term social, educational and affective experiences of migrant children and young people who have settled in the UK since 2004, in the context of often distinct policies of migration in Scotland and England.

2) To explore the influence of migration and long-term settlement in the UK on Eastern European young people’s ethnic and transnational identities, and their senses of citizenship and belonging.

3) To identify the factors enabling Eastern European young people to participate in the civil society, by assessing key individual and family variables (age, gender, social class, residential location, educational level, parents’ employment).

4) To examine the needs, practices and aspirations of settled Eastern European young people in relation to the accessibility and quality of key services, i.e. how services are meeting their needs (or not) and how these might be improved.

These objectives will be achieved by:

– developing methods appropriate for working with young people from a migrant background to capture their experiences, perceptions of life in Britain and local, national and transnational social interactions;

– engaging young people from new ethnic minorities in the debate on migration, national identity and citizenship;

– working with practitioners and policy makers to identify priority areas for long-term integration of families, providing evidence for the public debate on the impact of migrants on the UK’s social structures and national identity.

Link to the project website:


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