News story

Latvian Ambassador attends Brexit workshop at School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

The workshop: “European youth mobility in the shadow of Brexit”, held on 7 June 2017, was the outcome of a three year EU funded project and organised by the Universities of Surrey and Sussex. Attendees included the Latvian ambassador, Spanish embassy and Home Office staff, as well as a representative from the Institute Of Directors.

The research team with the Latvian Ambassador

Key findings

  • Across a range of European countries, 17% of young people intended to migrate in the next 12 months, and 31% planned intended to migrate in the next 5 years.
  • Those most likely to migrate were men, graduates, risk tolerant, had previous migration experience, and identified themselves as world citizens.
  • Economic motives were dominant in Eastern European countries, while adventure seeking was relatively more important in the UK and other northern European countries.

Migration lies at the heart of Brexit, whether the referendum campaign, the negotiations with the EU, or the eventual implications. Yet much of the discussion has occurred against a lack of systematic evidence on key questions such as: what is the level of intended migration in the EU; what have been the experiences of migrants in acquiring skills, their quality of life, and changing identities; and what are their future migration plans?

This workshop presented the findings of the three-year EU H2020 project, YMOBILITY on the migration of young EU citizens, to a group of stakeholders who included: Her Excellency Baiba Braze, the Latvian Ambassador; Ms Rodica Carausu, Labour and Social Affairs Attaché, Romanian Embassy; Mrs Reyes Zatarain del Valle Counsellor, Spanish Embassy, and representatives from the Home Office, unions, migrant associations, and the Institute of Directors.

The discussions highlighted how difficult it is to predict the future of migration after Brexit given that motivations are so diverse, potential migrants are strongly networked with existing migrants, and the large proportion with five year migration plans are in a position to either change their preferred destination country, or to bring forward their moves. There is also a likelihood that if the UK imposes strong immigration controls then, given the importance of English language as a driving force, Ireland could see a significant increase in immigration from the rest of the EU

The migrants are generally well educated, with 66% having a degree, which is one and a half times the proportion of young people in the UK. Indeed, many had first entered the UK as students, and then stayed on to work. A higher proportion of the migrants to the UK have professional and managerial jobs than in other EU countries. They are also generally more satisfied with their quality of life in the UK, and especially with their jobs and their educational opportunities.

Migration was a positive economic experience for most migrants, with about a quarter reporting that, after they returned home, they had significantly improved their occupational status compared to before emigrating. However, there was a downside with migrants in the UK reporting that they had experienced socio-cultural difficulties, compared to most other European countries.

Full list of attendees

  • H.E. Baiba Braze, Latvian Ambassador to the UK
  • Ms Rodica Carausu, Spanish Embassy of Romania in the UK. Labour and Social Affairs Attaché
  • Mrs Reyes Zatarain del Valle, Counsellor, Embassy of Spain in the UK, Employment and Social Security Office
  • Mr Dan Ashley, Head of press, University and College Union
  • Mr Salmaan Tariq, Home Office
  • Ms Isabella Righi, Home Office
  • Ms Rebecca Partos, Home Office
  • Ms Aija Rozenberga , Latvian organisation in the UK
  • Ms Hannah Boylan, Principal Policy and Projects Office, London Councils
  • Mr Roger Casale, CEO, New Europeans
  • Mr Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy, Institute of Directors
  • Mr Martin-Christian Kent, Executive Director, People1st
  • Caterina Mazzilli, PhD researcher, Italian community representative 
  • Chaido Karamoschou, student representative of active students-migrant youth at University of Sussex

YMOBILITY research teams

  • Allan Williams, University of Surrey
  • Calvin Jephcote, University of Surrey
  • Hania Janta, University of Surrey
  • Nilay Kilinc, PhD research & project research assistant, University of Surrey
  • Russell King, University of Sussex
  • Aija Lulle, University of Sussex
  • Laura Morosanu, University of Sussex

Related areas

  • School of Hospitality and Tourism Management