Weekly Roundup: 6 September 2018

This week's roundup includes information about UK fintech, the Polish government's appeal to expat workers, the UK government's scheme to recruit non-EU citizens, permanent residency in Qatar for expat citizens, Scotland's offer to pay visa fees for EU27 citizens, and UK mortgages.

High tech image illustrating the David Sapsted Relocate weekly roundup

Now Fintech eyes relocations and skills worries

The flourishing UK fintech sector is starting to consider headquarters relocations to the EU amid fears that Brexit will deny it the skills it relies on, according to a report this week from Wired UK.While none of the country’s top ten fintech firms has left, a recent report by Innovate Finance warned that the most conservative estimates suggested three per cent of the sector's 76,500 workers - 42 per cent come from overseas, mainly the EEA - could be gone by 2030."Already, nearly half of all companies say that they are or are planning to take action – with the vast majority of them (86 per cent) considering to relocate outside the UK," reported Wired UK."Dan Atkinson, chief people officer at digital bank Tandem, already sees the Brexit impact. During the past few months, the number of foreigners applying for jobs with his company has been falling steadily, and he’s worried the trend will continue because of the 'uncertainty surrounding Brexit and as competition from other European tech hubs continues to increase'."Nick Harding, the boss of P2P platform Lending Works, agrees: Brexit deters EU nationals from coming to the UK. They can’t be replaced by non-EEA migrants, he says, because it’s also getting trickier to arrange visas for them – ever since the government introduced higher income threshold for migrants."

Poland's conservative government appeals to expats to return home

An appeal has been made to millions of Polish expatriates to return home to take advantage of the nation's improving economy, jobs market and wages.With 10 million-plus people of the Polish extraction living abroad - many in the UK and US - the Krynica Economic Forum in southern Poland this week was told by Beata Szydlo, the former prime minister, that Poland had become a better place to live under its conservative government, with a range of social assistance programmes available to citizens.Education Minister Anna Zalewska said the national school system was ready to accept the children of returnees, with funds available to provide schooling for up to one million.

Brexit immigration update: UK government has plans to allow non-EU citizens to work in Britain

A pilot scheme that will allow UK fruit and vegetable growers to recruit 2,500 non-EU migrants as seasonal workers has been unveiled by ministers.The trial, which will run from spring next year until December 2020, is designed to offset the reduction in the number of EU workers prepared to come to Britain because of Brexit.It is estimated that UK agriculture currently relies on about 75,000 seasonal workers. Under the pilot scheme, non-EU workers will be allowed to remain in the country for six months.Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: "British farmers are vital to the UK's economy and the government will look to support them in any way we can."This pilot will ensure farmers have access to the seasonal labour they need to remain productive and profitable during busy times of the year."I am committed to having an immigration system that reduces migration to sustainable levels, supports all industry and ensures we welcome those who benefit Britain."

Qatar becomes the first Gulf state to offer permanent residency to expatriate workers

Qatar has become the first Gulf state to make permanent residency an option for a limited number of expatriate workers.The state's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has issued a decree allowing a maximum of 100 expats a year to get permanent residency - a right that would make them eligible for the gas-rich state's generous welfare system and commercial rights previously reserved for citizens.To be eligible, residents born outside must have lived in the country for 20 years, have a working knowledge of Arabic, have a sufficient, independent income and no criminal record. Expats who have rendered "significant service" to Qatar will also be eligible.And, from now on, children of Qatari women married to foreigners, spouses of citizens, and the children of naturalised Qataris will automatically become permanent residents.

Scotland offers to pay fee for EU27 citizens

If any of the three million-plus EU27 citizens currently resident in the UK are worried about the £65 charge the government is imposing to achieve settled status after Brexit, they should consider moving to Scotland.The devolved government in Edinburgh has said it will cover the cost of the fee for EU nationals working in the public sector north of the border.First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament: “It is simply wrong that people already making a contribution to our country should have to pay to retain rights they currently have to live and work here. “However, if the UK government persists, I can confirm that the Scottish government will meet the settled status fees for EU citizens who work in our devolved public services."The Scottish government is concerned about a Brexit-inspired exodus of EU workers at a time it needs still more of them to offset the effects of an ageing population.

UK mortgages for British expats in UAE and Saudi Arabia

British expats in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are heading the queue for mortgages on properties back in the UK, according to a report from the Marsden Building Society.Clients in the Gulf states have generated almost a third of the society's expat residential mortgage business so far this year - a period that has seen a general increase in inquiries from expatriate workers across the world.Steve Robinson, the society's head of lending, said: “With many UK expats spending time out in the UAE or Saudi often pulled by employment in construction, banking, oil or tourism among other trades.“We’re finding an increasing number wanting to secure a mortgage on their home in the UK either by renting it out or by supporting existing family members to continue to reside there.“It is common that the wages for an expat far exceed the average wage in the UK and, therefore, for these clients, affordability is not often an issue but seemingly finding a lender that will take a view on them is the issue they’re faced with, as only a handful of lenders can support them.”

Brexit anxiety hits the UK jobs market with jobs vacancies down seven percent on 2017

Anxiety over Brexit is starting to spread to the UK jobs market, according to a report from the Adzuna jobs site.A survey by the company found there were currently 1.14 million advertised vacancies, down by seven per cent from this time last year. But at a time of record employment levels across the UK, employers in many areas in many areas are still facing a real struggle to find staff: in Cambridge, Oxford, Warrington, Reading and Swindon, for example, Adzuna found there were 15 vacancies for every job-seeker.Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: "Despite positive noises from the labour market in the first half of 2018, this latest data suggests a summer slowdown in the UK job market and clear salary stagnation across the country."Britain's biggest employers are nervous, anxious and looking for answers around Brexit. If this uncertainty continues into late 2018, it's very hard to see how rates of pay and hiring will improve and return to growth in the short term."For related news and features, visit our Immigration and Brexit sections.
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