Brexit and Relocation: UK Government Triggers Article 50
Posted by: Alex Duhamel, Vice President, Client Services and Operations
As the UK Government triggers “Article 50” of the Treaty on European Union (EU) and formally commences the process to leave, the future relationship between the EU and the UK still remains uncertain. The UK has been a member of the EU for over 40 years and the decision to “Brexit” was made by the British people in a majority vote at a referendum conducted in June 2016.
What’s Next for Brexit?
There’s much for the negotiating teams to work through and agree to over the two-year exit period agreed upon in the treaty. After so many years of membership, it’s likely that aspects of Britain’s economy, trade, immigration, laws, regulation, and jurisdiction will all be affected, although how and when is still uncertain. The two-year negotiation period means that Brexit is expected to occur by March 2019. Whilst it is possible that the negotiation period could be extended (only with the full agreement of all 27 member countries), the UK Government’s current stance is that the UK will leave the EU at the end of the two-year period regardless of whether a deal is concluded or not.
Many companies in the UK and throughout the EU are watching and waiting to see what the likely outcomes of Brexit will be. Others are advanced in their business planning for the UK being outside the EU based upon their own corporate growth and development strategies.
Whilst relocation professionals recognize that Brexit will impact their global mobility programmes, it is likely that the how and the when will remain unclear for some time to come.
What Can Relocation Managers Do Right Now?
Cartus’ advice to any organization relocating international assignees to the UK, or British nationals to and within Europe is:
- Keep up to date with the advice given by leading sources to ensure all aspects of planning are covered comprehensively.
- Record the profile of those assignees likely to be affected by Brexit, so that appropriate short- and medium-term planning for international assignments can take place.
- Review upcoming intra-EU relocations that involve the UK, and/or UK nationals, moving within the EU and/or EU citizens moving to the UK. Keeping a record of these move types now will make future planning easier.
- Alert senior management of any likely impacts that this could have on wider business plans and company objectives.
- Audit your relocation policy and consider any likely areas of additional expenditure/cost like COLA, home/host compensation, shipping, visa/immigration etc.
- Build extra time, where possible, into the assignment planning process, especially for any visa/immigration requirements.
- Ensure your relocation planning for the UK leaving the EU is in lock-step with preparations being made in other areas of your company, like legal, tax, finance, and HR.
If you have any specific concerns please raise these directly with your Cartus representative and we will continue to update you as we learn more about the potential relocation impacts of Brexit.