Brexit: Impact on Mobility

Brexit: Impact on Mobility


Following Britain’s vote to leave the EU, many throughout the mobility industry are beginning to evaluate the implications of the vote on their global mobility programs. The ‘leave’ vote will undoubtedly generate a series of short and long term impacts. Among the areas that could be impacted are:


Non EU citizens living and working in the United Kingdom (UK) need visas and work permits currently and this does not change with the vote.  However, the biggest potential for change could be that that EU citizens, who don’t need a residence visa and work permit today to be in the UK, may need one in the future. Conversely, UK citizens who currently don’t need work permits and visas for assignments to the EU will be similarly affected. Simply put, this change would likely translate into additional time needed for the immigration process.

Individuals who are already on assignment in the UK who are EU citizens, and UK citizens already on assignment in the EU, will be impacted by the rules that will stem from the exit vote. It is currently uncertain as to what those new rules would be and what type of transition timeline would be put in place since there is no precedent established for a country exiting the EU. However, we expect that there would most likely be a minimum of two year transition in place, during which time the UK would continue to follow the EU treaties and laws in effect at the time.

Assignments that are already in initiated and in process for EU citizens and UK citizens could encounter unexpected slow-downs or additional paperwork as immigration requirements become uncertain due to this vote to leave.

Household Goods / Shipments

Since the ability to bring various household goods into a country is often tied to the person’s right to live and work in a country, there may be delays or a regulatory impact on items in transit. Those items may be met with greater scrutiny by customs or border control, or more simply, be stalled by the uncertainty around how to address the transition period and new bureaucracy.

Mobility & Investment Strategy

Bigger picture, a vote to exit could impact an EU-based organization’s overall talent strategy and decisions about investing in Britain. If immigration and cross-border matters pose an additional challenge to an already complex proposition, organizations may opt to source talent locally or opt against deepening their roots in Britain.

As we collectively evaluate the effects this vote to exit will have, some steps might be taken now to prepare, including:

  • Evaluate your assignee population to ensure you have full visibility into employees who may be impacted by the vote exit the EU (e.g. nationality, current location). Partner with your relocation management company to provide this information.
  • Connect with your immigration suppliers to discuss the implications that are unique to your organization.
  • Communicate with key stakeholders regarding any assignments that are in the planning or early pre-departure stages with employees that could be affected by the vote to indicate that additional strategy and time may be needed, especially for immigration matters.

We are actively evaluating, the impact of the UK’s Brexit vote and will be proactively consulting with our clients as the events unfold over the next weeks and months.