Weekly Roundup: 30 August 2018

This week's Relocate roundup includes information about the changes to UK immigration rules, Brexit-related company relocation plans, and the French government's post-Brexit plans for British nationals.

Cityscape of Paris with a focus on the Eiffel Tower to illustrate the Relocate Global David Sapsted weekly roundup for 30 August 2018

Thousands of changes to immigration rules

Foreign workers and HR executives who have found complying with British immigration regulations increasingly challenging in recent years might not have been surprised by this week's disclosure that the Home Office has made more than 5,700 changes to the immigration rules since 2010.An analysis by the Guardian found the changes had made "the visa system nearly impossible to navigate, according to senior judges and lawyers".The report said the changes had resulted in the rules more than doubling in length to almost 375,000 words, resulting in a complex system described as “something of a disgrace” by Lord Justice Irwin.
Immigration and asylum barrister Colin Yeo told the newspaper that “the rules are so precise” it has become essential to use a lawyer, forcing applicants to pay “astronomical” legal fees.“The frequency of the changes mean it’s very difficult to keep on top of them,” Mr Yeo said. “You have to read everything that’s coming out and it’s very hard to be certain you’ve captured every single change that might be relevant to your clients."The newspaper found that one document published in March 2014 contained 22 changes and then, only three days later, was superseded by a second version containing another 250 changes.

Relocate's Brexit Challenges workshop on Friday 28 September will address current global mobility challenges including Brexit, setting up in a new dominion, relocation policy design, various aspects of risk management as well as talent management, diversity and inclusion issues. Find out more here.

French government's contingency plans for British nationals

The French government is developing urgent contingency plans to ensure British nationals can gain residency in France in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has asked ministers to devise emergency measures to "mitigate the difficulties associated with the unprecedented challenge" of a no-deal situation, according to his spokesman.The aim of the exercise, he added, was to draw up a contingency plan to "facilitate the residency of British nationals already living in France" and to ensure "the greatest possible fluidity of border controls" when the UK leaves the EU. The government is expected to present its proposals to parliament in the coming weeks.There are approximately 150,000 UK citizens living in France and they are now being actively encouraged by the Paris government to apply for a ‘carte de séjour’ residency permit to avoid administrative chaos when Britain departs the EU.French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in early September and are expected to come up with their own proposals to avoid a 'no deal' scenario.

Why are young professionals leaving Hong Kong?

Young, indigenous professionals are leaving Hong Kong "in droves" in search of better lives abroad, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. The newspaper said that government data showed the number of locals leaving for lives abroad had reached a five-year high of more than 24,300 last year and that the upwards trend had continued this year, with one migration consultancy saying it had seen a 15 per cent increase in business compared with 2017.Canada and Australia have overtaken the US as the most popular destination for Hongkongers. "There are no figures for Britain, which is believed to be one of the most common destinations," added the report.The newspaper also reported the situation had been exacerbated by a fall in the number of people from mainland China moving to the former colony."Experts cite a mix of reasons people are leaving: the stressful lifestyle, unaffordable housing, high cost of living, lack of political freedom, and a rigid education system," added the Morning Post.

How much investment has the UK fintech industry attracted in early 2018?

The UK’s fintech industry attracted investment of more than $16 billion investment in the first half of 2018, according to an analysis by KPMG Fintech. Investment in the UK sector accounted for more than half the total $26 billion fintech investment in Europe ($26bn) and outpaced the $14 billion attracted by the US. However, much of the British cash was accounted for by Vantiv’s $12.9 billion acquisition of WorldPay.Despite some concerns about Brexit, venture capital investors appear to have remained bullish about UK's fintech future, with four of Europe’s top 10 deals happening in Britain: $250 million raised by Revolut, $100 million by eToro, $60 million by Flender and $54 million by MoneyFarm.Anton Ruddenklau, global co-lead at KPMG Fintech, said: “The year has got off to an exceptionally strong start for the fintech sector. In addition to the bullish levels of investment the UK has attracted, our fintech sector has also benefited from the government’s continued support with the launch of the Fintech Sector Strategy."

Kuwait plans to replace government expat workers

Kuwait has terminated the employment contracts of 3,140 expatriate public sector employees at the start of a 'Kuwaitisation' programme eventually aimed at replacing 44,752 expats employed by the government, according to Ahmad Al-Jassar, chairman of the Civil Service Commission. Official statistics showed that expatriates are currently employed across 46 government sectors, including 25,948 in teaching and training, 6,474 in services, 3,537 in law and Islamic affairs, 2,876 in engineering and 1,539 in social and educational services.Recently, the Ministry of Education announced that 2,000 teaching jobs would go Kuwaitis in public schools in an attempt to rejuvenate Kuwait's public education system. In the private sector, the government has decided to train at least 3,000 Kuwaitis, who will replace foreigners working mainly in sectors of management, according to local newspaper reports.

Volte-face for Barclays as it plans to relocate jobs to Europe

Barclays CEO Jes Staley once opined that he could see no reason to relocate jobs to Europe because of Brexit, which was why, in July, it came as something as a surprise when the bank announced it was shifting between 40-50 jobs from its investment bank in London to Frankfurt.Now, eFinancialCareers is reporting that "Barclays is stocking up with traders in Germany's financial centre" and advertising about a dozen trading jobs in Frankfurt, including senior roles such as a German-based, director-level head of equity derivatives trading, plus jobs for FX traders, credit traders and rates traders."Barclays has selected Dublin as its post-Brexit European hub, but appears to be focusing its European trading operation in Frankfurt. Both it and Deutsche Bank both shifted some of their euro interest rate swaps to Germany for clearing in June," reported eFinancialCareers.

Brexit relocations continue as Panasonic plans to move from London to Amsterdam

Panasonic is to move its European headquarters from London to Amsterdam in October because of Brexit, the firm's European CEO Laurent Abadie has revealed to the Nikkei Asian Review.Mr Abadie, who said the company had been considering the move for 15 months, told the newspaper that up to 20 employees involved in auditing and financial operations would be relocated to The Netherlands, but those dealing with investor relations would stay in the UK.Ironically, the reason behind the move appears to be the likelihood that the UK will lower corporation tax rates after Brexit - something which could appeal to many corporations but, because of Japanese tax laws, could leave Panasonic facing a steep rise in its tax bill in Japan.For related news and features, visit our Immigration and Brexit sections.
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