“Adios, England. We return to Lithuania”: emigrants bring everything

Lithuanians still living in the UK and set to return to Lithuania are not only voicing it because they wish to boast, but also because they need help.

Countrymen, who arrived there sooner or later have put roots down to a significant degree, establishing not only social connections, but also accumulating property, which they do not wish to relinquish. Thus, in the communities there is a search for aid or favours – who could help move with all property back to Lithuania?

Adverts with such inquiries in groups related to the UK on social media are one of the main indicators showing the shifting direction of migration.

Among the rest are not only those offering help and wishing well, but also pessimistic musings – is it worth coming back?

Spurred on by Brexit?

Based on the British Office for National Statistics, for two years in a row now the number of EU citizens in the country has decreased – ever fewer are arriving and many of those, who arrived before, are now packing their things and bidding farewell to Britain.

Reverse migration began soon after the 2016 Brexit referendum – Europeans were pushed into such steps not only by the changed atmosphere and attitude to foreigners, but also obscurity looming in the future.

After all, Brexit is in two weeks, but the British government still does not know what path of withdrawal it will choose and what the country’s relations will be with the EU in the future.

On the other hand, whatever path the British may choose, the EU citizens are not being expelled from the UK, quite the contrary – if you wish to remain and work after Brexit, you need only fill in a simple registration form.

However, this does not appeal to those departing the UK. Lithuanians are no exception. With the official Brexit date, March 29, nearing they are also becoming more active: there has been a clear increase in those seeking aid in moving back to Lithuania with all their property.

Just that they are rather uninclined to share their stories of what made them return to Lithuania, ignoring requests to share.

“I apologise, we are very busy. There’s much to do before leaving,” one woman answered.

Moving in April

Other trends also show intensifying interest in returning to Lithuania.

This is the demand for Lithuanian companies offering moving services.

“For the past few weeks, there is more interest than ever before. We already have a number of contracts, people will be moving to Lithuania in April. We met them, during planning we have to inspect how many items will need to be taken. People are bringing everything,” the head of UAB Transemija, a company transporting cargo between Lithuania and the UK, Vitalij Malko said.

The businessman emphasised that his company has been dealing in such services for seven years now, however he can only now confirm that people are moving back to Lithuania or at least taking interest in it more than ever before.

How is the nation reacting?

“Adios, England. We return to Lithuania,” was part of an advert by a Lithuanian, who asked the Lithuanian community in one city for advice on how to move house and property.

Posts on social media about returning to Lithuania are met with varied responses. Of course, mostly it is offers to help, recommendations and other useful information.

For example, one Lithuanian, who is also moving to Lithuania, informed that the transport of people, all their furniture and appliances from the UK to Lithuania cost her family 900 euro.

That said, not all responses are positive. One man (specifying residency in Vilnius), asks the woman intent on returning to reconsider.

“Don’t move yet. Stay a month in Lithuania first. Have you really decided?” the man asks.

Housing prepared?

Just as anywhere else, the first task for returnees is to find housing. As such, there are talks that the potential wave of repatriates may raise home sales in Lithuania.

However, this is for now an unconfirmed version, the representative of one leading real estate company, Ober-Haus, said.

“Those, who emigrated, always bought homes in Lithuania – some invested in the regions they stem from, others who accumulated more wealth, purchase economy and middle-class homes in Vilnius.

There are certainly no signs that there will be increased activity from abroad any time soon.

Emigrants always took interest in the Lithuanian real estate market’s opportunities, this interest is stable and there have not been any significant signs of change over the past few months. Such are the general trends.

Those returning or planning to return from abroad have likely secured housing already. At least some have. The other part is perhaps only seeking housing,” Ober-Haus Housing Department representative Audrius Šapoka said.

There are also talks that some returnees are not choosing the capital or their home areas for their new lives, but some of the most beautiful parts of Lithuania – Nida and other settlements on the Curonian Spit.

“We cannot confirm this version fully, however you can certainly claim that the number arriving to live here, seeking to settle and test the waters has increased.

However, we do not distinguish them based on where they arrived from, if they are returnees or not,” Neringa municipality administration press representative Sandra Vaišvilkaitė said.

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