Last month’s shock EU Referendum result means that Britain will leave the European Union.
The Independent reports that as many as one in five businesses surveyed by the Institute of Directors are considering moving some of their operations outside the UK. Many firms are looking for a ‘new London’ and weighing up whether they should stay in London… or move on.
In May this year, BTR International conducted a survey to discover how the outcome of the European referendum would affect talent mobility. The majority of companies involved stated that a Brexit vote would affect their relocation activities. Responses included:
“It will make it harder and decrease our preparedness to do so.”
“Presumably it will affect immigration both into the UK for EU nationals and into the EU for UK nationals which will have a big impact on businesses.”
As the dust is settling after the outcome, what are the main outcomes for international relocation?
1. Movement of Labour
This is one of the biggest areas affecting European assignments. Many global companies see assignments within Europe as ‘local’. If Britain withdraws from free movement of labour, extra legislation may be involved with creating new assignments.
But – it will take at least two years for Britain to leave the European Union – by which time many current assignments are scheduled to have finished. It is important to note that the recent Brexit decision is unlikely to affect most existing European projects.
2. Currency Markets
Since 24th June, the pound has dropped in value against most other currencies, significantly against the Euro and the Dollar. This will affect the ongoing cost of the assignment in Europe.
Concerns over residency and EU workers’ rights may be unsettling for UK workers who are currently on assignment abroad. Similarly, people working on assignments within the UK may have concerns over whether they are able to stay within their current location. Reassurance and support for employees and their families is important.
4. Business Relocation
The international relocation of entire operations rather than purely assignees is a distinct possibility. Many organisations are considering whether to remain UK-based. This is especially true within financial and technology sectors. HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Vodaphone are all actively investigating relocating thousands of staff out of Britain. However – this may change as a clear vision of future opportunities emerges.
The political situation and action for Brexit are emerging slowly. “Everyone involved in international relocation should be prepared to listen, consider options and make agile business decisions which look after the needs of the business and the assignees,” says Kevin Wieczorek, Sales and Marketing Director of BTR International.
Contact Kevin if you would like an informal chat about your relocation policy
and practices in light of the Brexit vote. Email via
or call him on +44 (0) 1582 495 495.