Brexit's Impact On Aberdonian Workers


by Rob McKenzie

27th July 2016

It feels like the dust is beginning to settle after the seismic decision to leave the EU with discussions from both sides of the debate turning to how we move forwards.

Although it remains unclear when the exit process will be set in motion it is clear from conversations with clients and candidates that the implications for the free movement of workers is at the forefront of their minds.

What impact will Brexit have for Aberdonians working in Europe and conversely, what impact will it have for the Europeans who have chosen to work and build careers in Aberdeen city and shire?

The changes which are implemented will be the result of many months of negotiations. Given the unprecedented political and economic events of this summer you'll appreciate that I hesitate to speculate on the outcome of these negotiations now.

Instead I'll focus on the guidance I'm currently sharing with clients:

  • Nothing changes until the UK actually leaves the EU and this is widely recognised to be at least 2 years hence from now.
  • Assignments which have a tenure of less than this 2 year period are, most likely, to be unaffected by Brexit.
  • Undertake an audit of your workforce to gain an appreciation of the potential liabilities for your business. For example, do contracts of employment state that your company will pay for immigration advice? Can you identify an alternative supply of workers if you had to replace non-UK EU nationals in your workforce? Is your business exposed to escalating salary costs by the weakened pound?
  • The uncertainty will be unsettling for your business and your workers, so engage with them now. Encourage they seek advice to be best prepared for whatever the future brings, giving consideration to registration certificates (working for less than 5 years in the UK), or permanent residence certificates (working for more than 5 years in the UK).

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