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Brexit and Global Mobility

It’s an obvious fact that Britain’s vote to leave the EU will have repercussions here in the states. We are already recognizing an impact on US mortgage rates, and though there is still quite a bit of uncertainty regarding how the decision will impact HR, most companies foresee some major issues in the realm of talent retention and definitely global mobility. The largest implications in terms of mobility will undoubtedly include both household goods management and visa/immigration.

Household Goods Management

Moving to a new country is a multi-faceted, detail-oriented process that can be stressful for relocating employees and their employers. While international household goods shipments already tend to be more complicated than those for domestic moves, it is fair to assume that assignees may experience delays or be faced with greater scrutiny and new regulations post Brexit, especially during the initial transition period.


Any non-EU citizens living and working in the United Kingdom (UK) already need visas and work permits. There are no foreseeable changes here which means relocations originating in the US will be relatively unchanged, aside from the potential household goods issues discussed above. Many EU citizens, however, that don’t currently require visas or work permits to be in the UK, will likely need both a residence visa and a work permit in the near future. Similarly, UK citizens working in other areas of the EU will also soon require visas and permits to continue to do so.

While companies will need to take a “wait and see” approach to some aspects of this world change, there are a couple of things that can be done now to prepare for the future:

  1. Connect with your RMC and/or your immigration supplier to discuss basic implications as well as expectations
  2. Review your employee population, specifically those currently on assignment so that you have a tight grip on who will be affected by the vote and any changing regulations.

UK’s exit from the EU will be a long and complex process that won’t formally begin until the country’s leadership invokes Article 50 But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start thinking about the implications and changes that are coming in the future. There is still a lot of uncertainty, but we think it is a fair assumption to believe that future global assignments, specifically to the UK and EU, will require more time, paperwork, and preparation than ever before. It is vital to stay on top of changes as they occur.

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VP, Client Services

VP of Business Development Northeast Region


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