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For the mobility industry—especially those with connections to the United Kingdom and Europe—the countdown to 29 March 2019 may feel like it’s speeding up as time progresses. Once the clock strikes midnight on that day, Brexit will have officially commenced.
There’s quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding mobility, as the details of Brexit are still being negotiated. With regulations expected to change regarding the free movement of people between the United Kingdom and European Union member countries, organisations will need to review and, possibly amend, their mobility practices.
So, how can those mobile organisations get ahead?
Earlier this month, Worldwide ERC® partnered with Graebel to host a Brexit Q&A with subject-matter experts, where attendees could share their questions and concerns with our panelists. Here are the two takeaways that could help organisations plan and prepare for when the mobility details of Brexit are announced.
According to a recent CIPD poll, 37% of European Union employees in the United Kingdom rated their company with the lowest score possible regarding the quality of information provided on post-Brexit life. If anything, organisations should take time to inform their employees and provide a level of comfort surrounding the uncertainty.
Graebel’s Beverly King suggested that there are quite a few ways for organisations to communicate effectively with their employees:
“Some companies I have seen communicating with employees have utilized Q&A or Town Hall sessions or company-led announcements to reassure employees that little or nothing will change from an employment point-of-view. Others have already, or plan to, provide EU employees (or UK employees based in the EU) the appropriate links and information they need to help them prepare and carry out any applications they need to continue residency in their host country, if not on an active assignment.”
Back at the head office, organisations should be doing their research with regard to mobility.
“Preparing for and thinking about contingency planning for various possible scenarios is important,” noted King.
She also added that it would be beneficial for global mobility managers to “work with a task force to test certain scenarios on a small scale before moving to a more scalable solution.”
Given the uncertainty of what regulations will come out of Brexit, it’s understandable that some may still feel uneasy, regardless of how many contingency plans are created.
But what happens when people face an obstacle? They innovate. Solutions will arise to solve business problems – no matter what rulings are enacted.
The “Digital Nomad” visa from Estonia is a prime example – King noted that it’s great to see government entities “start to think more proactively about how companies and employees need and want to do work.”
Emily King of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP agreed that innovation is coming and that the visa idea was “revolutionary.”
Related: EU and UK Reach Agreement on Free Movement During Brexit Transition
Regarding the possible restrictions on the movement of people in and out of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Hearn of DLA Piper LLP noted that other countries have innovated before regarding mobility. Hearn cited the “deals about movement of people between the EU and third-party states, such as South Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines” as evidence that countries have found ways to facilitate mobility and make life easier for their employers previously.
To provide further ease, there will be an implementation period, lasting from 29 March 2019 until 31 December 2020. Though Brexit will begin on 29 March 2019, the date does not entail a complete transition right away.
Until the impact of Brexit is felt, sit tight and be prepared. Organisations should keep their mobile employees in the loop about new developments regarding the details of Brexit and work on contingency plans—or innovative solutions—to better serve those set to be impacted.
View the full Brexit Q&A in the Community and chime in if you have any questions that our experts or other members can address.