Ausra Bremner (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)
Since the opening of European borders to new EU member states, a large number of immigrants continue to arrive in the UK and specifically to the East Midlands and East Anglia. To date, little or no research has been conducted to understand their experience and adjustment in this part of the country. I am in the middle of my research and I am currently analysing data through grounded theory. From the data I have collected so far on how migration to the UK affects family relationships and looking at only one of its segments – that is, changes in lifestyles and the interplay with a culture – one can see the range of experiences both positive and negative. The data appears to be very complex and reveals that some people’s experiences in the UK are very complicated. For example, some individuals have a positive experience of their life in the UK: financial safety and security compared with just survival in Lithuania; new quality of life and happiness: family gain, improved relationships, acceptance for one’s sexuality, race, or nationality; boosting self esteem and confidence compared with moral degradation and suicidal thoughts back in Lithuania. Others have negative experience, including dissatisfaction of a low migrant/social status, humiliating low paid jobs opposed to a high professional achievement and recognition back in Lithuania. In my work, I discuss preliminary findings of my research on the structure of the family relationships as a result of migration to the UK.