The unprecedented defeat in the House of Commons to the Government’s Withdrawal Bill last week leaves the UK with little certainty over Brexit, which is scheduled to take effect imminently on March 29th 2019.
We have already received numerous questions from concerned contractors, recruitment businesses and their clients about the best way to prepare. While it is possible that we may see further delays for Brexit, we advise planning for a hard Brexit if you want to safeguard your business. Please continue to read our top tips and recommendations in response to the most common questions around Brexit-preparedness.

Q: SHOULD RECRUITERS AND CONTRACTORS BE UNDERTAKING NO DEAL PLANNING? AND WHAT WOULD THAT INVOLVE?

A: Everyone should plan for a possible no deal outcome. Unless the UK remains in the EU, the free movement will end on 29th March 2019.
The most pressing questions they should consider are:

  • Where are your clients based?
  • From where do your contractors come?

If your clients and contractors are all based in the same country, then you might be more or less Brexit-ready. However, if you are a British company operating or employing UK contractors in the EU or vice versa, you may need to adapt your business to remain compliant.

Q: HOW SHOULD RECRUITERS WHO PLACE CANDIDATES CROSS-BORDER BETWEEN UK AND EU BE PLANNING FOR BREXIT?

A: This depends on how the end of free movement of people will affect contractors working outside their home country. While there will be provisions to stay where you have been working, these will not allow contractors to work in another EU country. For example, a British contractor with residence in France would not automatically have the right to work in a different EU country.

Q: WHAT SHOULD THEY BE DOING FROM A COMPLIANCE PERSPECTIVE TO ENSURE THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TRADING WITH MINIMAL DISRUPTION AFTER MARCH 29TH?

A: There are some steps that cross-border companies can take to ensure compliance.

  1. They can form local companies or subsidiaries to grow credibility and relevance in the EU. Common choices include Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands which have a several advantages regarding their markets and compliance, and where many people speak English fluently.
  2. They should lessen their dependence on using British contractors in EU countries. Long-term it will be more beneficial from a cost and compliance perspective to employ EU contractors in EU countries. It is worth noting that British companies and contractors will be more exposed to risks than their EU counterparts.
  3. Similarly, limit EU nationals who want to work in the UK since there seems no likelihood of the British government introducing any fast track work permit process equivalent to the KMR scheme in the Netherlands.

At AF we have been busier than ever making preparations, so we can support our clients in the UK and throughout the EU and elsewhere. We have ten offices in nine countries and thirty-one operating companies able to sponsor work visas across Europe and beyond. We have more contractors and more clients than any other cross-border management company in Europe, and so we are Brexit ready.
We know how difficult it can be to prepare for something so uncertain. If you have any questions about your situation or how Brexit might impact you, we are available to answer your questions. Please get in touch with me, Kevin Austin, at kevin.austin@accessfinancial.com and I will be happy to arrange to have a confidential and no-commitment chat with you.