'I'm not Greek anymore, I'm English': EU expats' post-Brexit fears

Becky Johnson, Midlands Correspondent

People dancing in the streets while smashing plates may not be what you'd expect at lunchtime in Birmingham city centre but that is what happens outside the Greek restaurant Santorini.

The staff are as proud of their country's culture as the cuisine and they're keen to give their customers a true taste of Greece.

As we filmed, we saw diners of all nationalities sampling the menu, with mouth watering mezze and delicious desserts served up by the chefs who source many of their ingredients from their home country.

But as much as they want their customers to enjoy Greek culture, the staff we spoke to love their lives in Britain. Many told us they fear their futures are now in doubt post-Brexit.

I chat to Konstantinos Lambrakis as he serves up baklava, a traditional dessert, to approving customers. He moved to the UK from Athens in 2015 to study law at Coventry University.

He works as a waiter at weekends to fund his studies and had been hoping to practice law in the UK when he graduates.

"I think that Brexit will affect me totally," he tells me.

"I'm here and I don't need any work permit or any licence or any visa to be here. But when article 50 will be triggered by the Government then I think I will have a lot of problems to stay in England."

"I think the whole situation will be totally different," he adds, as he tells me he fears employers will be encouraged to look less favourably at applications from foreigners.

"If all of this will happen I don't know how I'll survive in England. I left my country in order to find here a better place, better prospects and now I'm in front of Brexit. I left Greece in order to avoid Grexit and now I have in front of me Brexit."

The restaurant's manager has lived in the UK so long he has anglicised his name Cristos, asking me to call him Chris.

Over nearly four decades in Britain, living first in London then settling in the West Midlands, he tells me he has earned the rights he enjoys here as he has contributed to the economy as well as society.

"From the time I came here I have worked, I pay all my taxes, I help people," he says.

"The people I help are people from the streets, homeless, I put them in homes. I used to work at a charity for the homeless."

He tells me his children have been brought up in the UK and he can't imagine ever returning to his homeland.

"For 31 years I've never been to Greece," he says. "Forget it, I'm not Greek anymore, I'm English."

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