What’s in Store for Contractors with Brexit (part 2)

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Your future as a limited (or umbrella) company IT contractor

The current points-based immigration system, which the UK applies to non-EU migrants is another alternative. Hirers have to try to fill vacancies from the local labour market before applying for work permits, but if occupations are listed on the Shortage Occupation List, the resident labour market test does not apply.  There are a number of IT occupations on the list at present, including data scientists and cyber security specialists and it is quite likely that the number will increase as the flow of talent from the EU pipeline is restricted

From the perspective of limited company contractors, the good news is that little is likely to change.  In fact, whether a contractor operates through a limited company or an umbrella company has no bearing on their eligibility for a work permit.  We at Speedy believe that UK contractors will still be able to operate via limited companies in the EU post-Brexit. 

Put another way, in the post-Brexit world, limited company contractors are unlikely to be any more disadvantaged than other British workers.  The reason for this is that work permits make no distinction for corporate structure.  The critical factor is to what extent some degree of freedom of movement is retained or whether work permits will be required and how difficult it will be to obtain them.  It is likely that as they are considered foreign workers, Britons contracting abroad will likely require some kind of permit. 

Whatever the final detail on immigration arrangements, it seems certain that UK workers will be at a slight disadvantage compared with other EU workers when trying to secure work in the European Union.  There may be some compensatory factors however.  The devaluation of the pound triggered by Brexit for example.  This is mostly here to stay according to many economists.  The devaluation should, in theory, make the UK and British workers relatively more attractive to foreign business.  Tech companies certainly haven’t taken fright at Brexit.  Snapchat, for example, has announced that London is going to be the home for its international headquarters.  And that follows announcements by Google, Amazon and Facebook that they too are increasing their investment in the UK. 

These companies are not alone in hoping that a flexible migration system emerges from Brexit.  They know – almost better than anyone – that British contractors with the right skills are good value for money.  And this holds true in EU countries.  Deep down, and despite the ‘make-Britain-pay-for-Brexit’ rhetoric, these European nations also want a system that recognises the importance of highly skilled workers to economic prosperity. 

After the bruising they took over Brexit many business leaders are keeping incredibly quiet in the run up to the General election.  Refreshingly however, Brexit is one are that most people in and around business of placing professionals on temporary assignments tend to agree, everyone wants to make it work.  There’s therefore every reason to think that British contractors will find many opportunities in the EU in the years ahead. 


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