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Many European expats in Salford are suffering from an identity crisis, questioning their place in society, according to a minority support field expert.

Europia‘s director Kush Chottera has spoken out about the current effects that Brexit is having on European expats and what would the future outcomes be when the British ship officially departs from the European dock. He touched upon the themes of self-identification and social acceptance.

“Behind the whole Brexit process there is a struggle on the European expats’ side to understand the whole premise of it and the steps leading up to it. Because it’s so complicated and the fact that it’s such a personal and problematic issue makes a lot of people just bury their heads in the sand and wait for it to pass.

“Even academics, people with high-level professional jobs are getting confused and are doing the same. But Brexit is here and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

Britain voted to leave the European Union on the June 23, 2016. In Salford, hate crime rates for the period 2016-2018 has increased more than 50 per cent, placing it fourth on the hate crime rankings in Greater Manchester.

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On the life of an expat in such a hostile environment, Mr Chottera said: “I believe much more people than that are experiencing hate crime. They just do not know how hate crime is defined and do not report it. Horrible acts like this one have always been around Salford, but they have become very prominent after the vote.

“More physical assaults, more vile verbal attacks. Expressing yourself as an expat constantly becomes more difficult. Hate crime doesn’t have to be personally directed. Living conditions can also create big pockets of anxiety in the minority communities.

“The biggest challenge for European expats in these uneasy times is in the face of their health and well-being. Because of Brexit, people have begun to question their identity. Teenagers, kids, even parents are starting to wonder about their place in this society when their culture and ancestry have been rejected, neglected or disrespected.”

He continued with what for him is the right way in dealing with the current situation to support expats as much as possible: “What we should start doing that is being done as little as possible right now is to provide opportunities to talk about other aspects of Brexit except the political one. What I mean is people sharing their emotions, feelings and identity troubles that had risen from the ongoing scenario.

“Now there are lots of small groups of local clubs and Sunday schools that engage with people with a given nationality. The main problem is that they are very small and in a lot of instances they do not have any connections with other minority welfare groups.

“We, as such an organisation, are trying to support minority leaders from other community groups so that they can serve their communities better”.

Mr Chottera addressed all Salford communities by urging them to strive for a better co-existing: “We are all different, this is clear to everyone. But these differences should not divide us, they should connect us. Let’s leave the stereotyping and the generalizing of minorities aside and start thinking more thoroughly about the individual rather than his passport.”

Karol Kochanowski, a Europia employee who is from Poland and has been here for over 10 years also shared his views on the rising problematic of cultural differences.

Europia is the only local registered organisation that helps primarily European expats. For more information, help or assistance with Brexit or British law you can visit their website and get in contact with them here.

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