The EU-funded RETORNO study intends to investigate how Brexit is affecting social and health issues in returned migrants, especially between the United Kingdom and Spain, but also at a European level. 

RETORNO – European research project. Read in full here.
(Horizon 2020- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action, No 894303)

Principal investigator: Pilar Serrano-Gallardo (pictured above)

Centre: School of Sociology and Social at the University of Leeds (United Kingdom)

Intra-EU migration policies interact with social determinants of health, including the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These vary depending on how policies distribute money, power and resources, and have an impact on people’s health. 

Using an innovative review methodology (realist synthesis) with co-production stakeholder workshops (such as NGOs, diplomatic representations,  policymakers, returnees), the study seeks to uncover the mechanisms and contextual factors (i.e. specific interventions or policies) that generate health inequalities, focusing on those related to gender. In addition, the study aims to co-design interventions with stakeholders at developing public policies on well-being and health for returned migrants.

One of these co-productive workshops was held on February 9 and Else Kvist, Communications Advisor for New Europeans UK, was one of the participants. The main objective of this workshop was to refine and validate the preliminary results on the return of British citizens.

Some of the data presented by Pilar Serrano, the principal investigator, point that government return interventions have many weaknesses, and many third sector organizations are providing support, especially information. In addition, having financial and family resources are key factors to return to the United Kingdom. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the impacts of Brexit, migrant return policies are confusing and unfamiliar, creating uncertainty for UK citizens living abroad and can lead to unequal access to healthcare in the UK, but also a deterioration in living conditions in the countries where they continue to live, waiting to return. On the other hand, administrative procedures such as the “Ordinary residence test” or “Habitual residence test” are generating problems of accessibility to services and benefits, with repercussions on the quality of life of British citizens who return or are in the process.

The workshop was very productive, fulfilling its objectives, and therefore, contributing to continue advancing in this participatory research process.