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Brexit and Deportations: towards a comprehensive and transnational understanding of a new system targeting EU citizens

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BRAD (Brexit and Deportations: towards a comprehensive and transnational understanding of a new system targeting EU citizens)

Período documentado: 2018-11-01 hasta 2020-10-31

With the exit from the European Union, freedom of movement is ending in the United Kingdom and BRAD traced this process. More precisely, the topic of the research projects were deportations of EU citizens or forced return migrations organised by the UK state authorities. The project captured the process of UK exiting the European Union and also the unexpected but important for the studied context – the Covid-19 global pandemic that has largely affected international migration but has not stopped deportations of EU citizens.
The topic of the BRAD research is important because of two reasons. First, changing immigration policies affect the lives of over three million EU citizens and their families who had settled in the UK, often before UK decided to abandon the principle of the freedom of movement. The popularisation of project results helped to inform EU citizens about their future predicament. Second, this study is revelant for its theoretical value, as it captured the moment of the inception of the new UK deportation system targeting a so-far privileged community, before the end of the Brexit transition period vulnerable to deportation only under very specific conditions (former convicts and – between 2016 and 2017 – rough sleepers).
Dr Agnieszka Radziwinowiczówna, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow studied this new deportation system from the perspective of social sciences and offered a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to the study of UK deportation regime in statu nascendi, embracing immigration policies, media discourse accompanying it, material infrastructure, and the groups targeted with deportability and deportation. The ethnographic study, which consisted in observation and interviews, analysed the specific case of Polish migrants, the largest migrant group from EU in the UK. The research focused on England, mainly on the West Midlands, a region characterised by a high presence of EU migrants, especially from Central and Eastern European Union. In addition, this region had the highest share of the ‘leave’ vote (59.3%) in the referendum in June 2016.
Radziwinowiczówna’s research on past deportations from the UK has demonstrated that class, ethnic and national background, as well as cultural capital determine the deportability of EU citizens. Eastern Europeans have been overrepresented among the deportees – in 2020, 69% of all the people deported from the UK came from Romania, Poland and Lithuania, although these three nations made up only 39% of EU citizens in the UK. If the current deportation patters continue after the end of the freedom of movement and Immigration Rules change as it was announced in October 2020, the new UK deportation system will reproduce the systemic inequalities between EU citizens and the division between ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states.
In order to popularize the results of the BRAD research, Radziwinowiczówna participated in six conferences, three seminars, three workshops and four public events. She was invited speaker at the University of Sheffield, Edge Hill University and University of Wolverhampton (UK), Tec de Monterrey (Mexico), Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany) and University of Warsaw (Poland). She also organized international workshop ‘Why and how should we research the deportation of foreigners? Epistemological, methodological and ethical issues in deportation studies’.
The first publications of the BRAD project can be consulted under the ‘Results’ section on the right. The publication process in academic journals and scholarly editorials takes more time than the lifetime of a research project and important publications will be published after the end of BRAD. One academic article and one chapter in edited collection are currently under review and work on other two articles and on a special issue co-edited by Agnieszka is in progress. For a comprehensive and actualised list of Radziwinowiczówna publications, please consult her website:
Apart from scientific publications, Agnieszka prioritized popularisation of BRAD’s results among general public. She has authored one and co-authored two blog posts on LSE Brexit, Border Criminologies and Justice Gap. Radziwinowiczówna on several occasions was invited to Polish radio stations, where she explained the changing migration regulations for EU citizens in the UK. Dissemination of BRAD’s results was also aimed at migrants and – more broadly – EU citizens, and also targeted a widely-read Polish information websites for Poles in the UK.
The list of dissemination activities includes lessons for children and teenagers organised in a primary school in Warsaw (see the Image 3 below). The objective of the lesson was to make the pupils understand the changing character of the national and supra-national borders. On the basis of real-life experiences of their peers, school kids were prompted to analyse the social consequences of this change.
By communicating the project results to general public, Radziwinowiczówna has raised awareness about the consequences of Brexit for EU citizens in Britain. Her publication about European Union Settlement Scheme as early as at the beginning of 2019 and activity on social media sought to draw EU citizens’ attention to the fact that not applying may result in lacking regularized status after the EUSS closes in June 2021.
BRAD will continue to be impactful after the completion of the Fellowship, upon the publication of articles and chapters that are currently under review. Radziwinowiczówna’s published research will explain the origins and causes of EU deportations from the UK. Forthcoming publications will also be the first in the deportation studies to explain that deportation regimes are underpinned by ‘ideologies of deportability’, powerful media discourses affecting public opinion on which groups deserve to be expulsed. While the securitising discourse about the ‘vile Eastern European’ dominates the media discourse about the EU nationals undeserving to remain in the UK, pro-Brexit media outlets in Britain have been also advocating for expulsions of rough sleepers, the unemployed and EU citizens receiving welfare benefits. Following the end of the European freedom of movement in the UK, it will be necessary to observe if changing immigration rules and policies will facilitate illegalisation and forced return of these groups.
As the objective of this H2020 programme is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers, Radziwinowiczówna got professional training and experience that will feed into her new teaching as well as supporting her continuing success as a migration researcher. Most importantly, at the University of Wolverhampton she taught undergraduate and graduate students, supervised master’s theses, increased her qualifications as a Virtual Learning Environments user in higher education and obtained Certificate in Higher Education and Professional Practice which led her to become a fellow of the AdvanceHE (FHEA).
Image 3. Dissemination event in a primary school in Warsaw
Image 1. With Brexit, the European Freedom of Movement ends in the UK
Image 2. Dissemination event organised at the University of Wolverhampton, the host insitution