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What does Brexit mean for the recruitment industry? An update from our CEOs

David Broome our consultant managing the role
Posted by David Broome
Published on 24 May 2019

It’s been more than two years since the Brexit referendum of 2016, and at times it seems like we’re still no closer to a conclusive outcome for the UK. With March 29 – the due date for UK to leave the EU – drawing ever nearer, organisations, employers and workers throughout the UK and Europe are scrambling to keep up to date with the latest developments.

Quanta’s CEO, Stephen Trigg, has been closely following the Brexit situation as it’s unfolded, and he and the business have been implementing strategies to deal with whatever outcome emerges. Here’s what he has to say about Brexit, recruitment and Quanta.

How has the recruitment landscape changed since the Brexit vote?

“From Quanta’s perspective, it really hasn’t changed much at all. Our clients are still using our services and we’ve had a steady stream of new work and projects coming through, not just in Europe but elsewhere around the world too. If anything, we’re busier than ever, which shows Brexit hasn’t had much of an impact on our own business situation.”

What is industry sentiment like regarding Brexit?

“There’s certainly been increasing levels of concern from clients and contractors throughout many industries, largely in relation to the sheer uncertainty that the ongoing negotiations are causing. There’s a question mark hanging over us and no real answers from the powers that be. In that regard, it’s a guessing game as to how the Brexit dust will settle – but nonetheless, we must make plans in order to be prepared for every eventuality. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing: Making plans for whatever happens. As such, we now have strategies in place to ensure we can remain operating smoothly and successfully after March 29.”

How will Brexit impact our markets moving forward?

“In our niche markets of life sciences, renewable energy and ICT, our order book is full – we’re busier than ever and we have yet to feel any negative challenges from the Brexit situation. However, we know the lack of information and general uncertainty surrounding the deal means there will be plenty of questions to come. We’ve already encountered queries regarding EU and non-EU consultants working in the UK, with a client asking whether these contractors will be allowed to continue working in the UK post-Brexit. For this particular scenario, the non-EU consultant had full permits to continue working in the UK regardless of Brexit, while the UK government’s stated open border policy should mean that EU nationals can continue to work in the UK. However, we don’t know what level of legislation and documentation EU nationals will need to allow them to remain working here.

We’re certainly not complacent about the matter but we draw comfort from the fact that the UK’s largest employer – the NHS – employs 63,000 EU nationals. With that in mind, it seems inconceivable that the British government wouldn’t allow other nationalities to continue working in the UK, or our public health system would grind to a halt. The question remains whether this response will be reciprocated by European governments. One hopes and assumes they would reciprocate, but as yet there has been nothing announced to confirm this. As a business, we’re monitoring the EU’s response as closely as we are the UK’s ongoing negotiations.”

What plans are in place for a post-Brexit business landscape?

“We’ve already created a wholly-owned European subsidiary which we can trade through very promptly in the event of a no-deal Brexit. While in an ideal world  we will continue trading through our UK limited company, we have this option ready to go should we need to transition. This solution does create additional challenges, but we must be realistic about all possible outcomes and plan accordingly.”

What is the overall Quanta Brexit message?

“For us, it’s business as usual. We’re not panicking – instead, we’re closely monitoring the updates closely and planning for all eventualities. This means we are ready to spring into action no matter the outcome. We’re particularly interested in the response from EU governments with regard to work permits and the right of UK nationals to work in Europe, as this is currently a significant question mark for many in our industry. As it stands, we await more news from both the UK and Europe as we continue to prepare ourselves, our contractors and our clients for an outcome.

For more of our latest insights on recruitment and our industries, take a look at our blogs. For information on how we can work with your business, view our client section.


UPDATE (07.02.2019)

Following on from last weeks BREXIT blog some clarity has emerged with respect to how the Dutch Government will react to a No Deal Brexit. 

The IND have made known what the rights of British citizens and their family members in the Netherlands are in case of a No-Deal. During the transition period from 29-03-2019 until 1 -07- 2020, British citizens and their family members legally residing, working and/or studying in the Netherlands before 29 -03-2019, will keep these rights of residence. During this period, they need to apply for a Dutch residence permit. To obtain a Dutch residence permit, you need to comply with the requirements for residence laid down in EU Law:

  1. Employees or self-employed must continue to be employed or self-employed; Economically inactive residents must have sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the Netherlands and a comprehensive health insurance coverage;  
  2. Students must be enrolled with a recognized private or public educational institution accredited or financed by the Dutch government, and have sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the Netherlands as well as a comprehensive health insurance coverage.

Once you have obtained a Dutch residence permit you are entitled to work in the Netherlands without a work permit.

Whilst we are all still hoping for a positive outcome to the BREXIT negotiations, it is helpful that other governments are helping to clarify the situation in the event of a No Deal Brexit. Our Compliance Team at Quanta will continue to monitor the situation.