Racism on the rise for Eastern European young people in the UK, ESRC-funded study finds

Researchers in the School of Social Work & Social Policy have called for more to be done to support young Eastern Europeans living in the UK in the Brexit transition. A survey of more than 1000 young people from Central and Eastern Europe found that half of them said they have witnessed more racism since the 2016 EU Referendum. 77% of young people said they had experienced discrimination in some form because of their nationality, accent or appearance. Racism was a frequent experience for one in five of the young people surveyed, ranging from everyday racism such as name calling, jokes and cultural stereotypes to physical attacks and damage to property.

Dr Daniela Sime, Reader in Education & Social Policy, leading the Here to Stay? study, which also involved researchers from Plymouth and Durham Universities, said:

A rise in racism is a serious concern and is likely to have an impact on young people’s mental health, their sense of security and belonging, and their decisions on whether to stay in Britain in the future.

Over half of the young people surveyed were ‘worried’ or ‘uncertain’ about their future following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, while 15.8% were ‘hopeful’ and 5.9% ‘excited’ about their options post-Brexit. Overall, 3 in 4 of the young people surveyed believed they were 'likely' or 'very likely' to stay in the UK after Brexit, with only 11% expecting to leave.

The study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and was presented during an event on Saturday 11 November at the Strathclyde-based Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII), as part of ESRC’s UK-wide Festival of Social Science.

Researchers are calling for more action to support Eastern European young people in the Brexit transition:
These young people are hoping not to leave the UK, at least not in the short term, as many now think of the UK as their home and are in education or training. Nonetheless, they are sensitive to, and potentially alienated by, anti-immigration discourse and sentiment and this may affect their long-term plans. It is particularly important to them that their secure status as UK residents is confirmed at an early stage of the negotiations.
A full research and policy Briefing is available at the project website: www.migrantyouth.org