Brexit is a reality – will it bring a new era for global mobility?

Fiona Murchie, managing editor of Relocate Global reflects on the implications for global mobility and relocation.

Brexit and global mobility
Britain woke up to an ‘all change’ situation this morning following the referendum vote to leave the European Union.

How this will really affect businesses in the UK, the economy and wider trading has yet to be teased out not to mention the influence on global markets.

What will be the impact on the global mobility industry?

There will inevitably be some relocation movement as some of those companies threatening to leave the UK assess their position and decide to go elsewhere. 

Global mobility professionals are used to addressing change and that is part of our business.

The drive to reach global markets will not stop and organisations will continue to send skilled and specialist talent around the world and in and out of the UK and Europe.

I have spoken before about global mobility becoming the norm for many organisations. There is huge opportunity to use the expertise that global mobility professionals have to support businesses as the UK leaves the European Union and to help in this transition period.HR and mobility professionals are in a strong position to share what we know about managing change. In addition, the wider relocation and global mobility community can be a leading light in ensuring we hold true to the importance of cultural awareness and diversity. Moving talent as we know is a complex business, from managing immigration, tax, cost and compliance to supporting employees and their families with finding property and schools. 

It is going to get more complex, but as a community we can make a difference. We have a huge amount of expertise, which is invaluable in today’s fast-moving world and will be needed to support the talent in all kinds of organisations who will be inevitably responding to the UK’s momentous decision.

Property implications

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of the buying agents Garrington Property Finders “Prime central London property has already suffered more than any other market from the uncertainty unleashed by the referendum. With a quarter of the capital’s corporate rental market driven by the financial services sector, the convulsions being experienced in the City today will filter down to the property market within days.

“Looking further ahead, the only sure thing is that we can’t be sure of much. The actual process of Brexit is unlikely to be quick or easy, but it’s the prolonged period of uncertainty that will accompany it that is likely to prove most toxic.

“The blunt truth is that many investors – for whom property is a discretionary purchase – will sit on their hands until the dust settles. And no-one really knows how long that will take.

“As a result the Prime central London market risks a triple whammy of falling demand, supply and prices.
“Looking outside London the impact will be less dramatic, but the uncertainty will do little to unblock the supply shortage. Would-be sellers will be more likely to stay put, and this morning’s collapse in the share price of Britain’s largest housebuilders hints at a freeze in new building.

Expat workers

Commenting on the impact on expat workers Mark Quinn, Partner in Mercer’s Talent business, said, “The immediate implications for companies and employees will depend on their circumstances. In the short term, companies should be analysing exposure they have to the UK and Europe in respect of their workforce’s organisational profiles and their reward plans. While we don’t know yet what restrictions will be imposed on, say, the free movement of people, it is evident that political, economic, legislative and market uncertainty is unlikely to clear any time soon. Strong employee communications will be critical for companies over the coming months.” 

Mercer highlighted the potential impact on areas such as pensions, workforce planning and reciprocity on state healthcare costs for foreign nationals across member states.

For practical advice, news and comment on the impact of the UK leaving the EU and how to support your organisation and employees, see the following sections on our website:

International Assignments
Mobility Industry
Education & Schools
Directory of Suppliers

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