By Francis Buchanan
With the UK’s new Brexit deadline edging ever closer, it appears more likely now than ever before that the country will leave the European Union before the end of 2019, with or without a Brexit deal in place. As legislators, politicians and civil servants rush to prepare for every possible Brexit outcome, there has been an influx of new information about what could happen to Brits working abroad and EU nationals living within the UK.
However, it’s fair to say that new information for those thinking of relocating to London after Brexit has been particularly scarce. As global mobility experts with headquarters in the UK’s capital, we thought we’d explore all possibilities and look at what you need to know when relocating to London after Brexit.
What is Brexit? The Elephant in the Room
Over three years ago, in June 2016, citizens of the UK voted to leave the European Union. After countless votes in the Houses of Parliament, several prospective Brexit deals and a handful of different Prime Ministers at the helm, the UK still finds itself in a political bind.
The result of this impasse is a sense of uncertainty for UK citizens, EU nationals and others around the globe that could be affected by new laws and policies regarding immigration into the UK and the right to work in EU member states.
In 2017, it was recorded that 3.7 million EU-born migrants were living in the UK, making up 5.7% of the total UK population. Understandably though, EU immigration to the UK sharply declined by 33% following the result of the referendum, but non-EU immigration rose by about 8% between 2016 and 2018.
So, the short answer is, relocating to London has probably never been more challenging, but despite competition from other financial hubs such as Frankfurt, the city is still booming and opportunities are still aplenty.
What You Need to Know
If you’re relocating to the UK from non-EU member states, the process will largely remain unchanged – a visa and work permit will still be required – however, any new laws and policies could impact future travel plans. So, for example, if you’re from the US, Australia or the Asia-Pacific, and you’re thinking of relocating to London for work, you can expect the immigration process to be largely the same despite of Brexit.
However, if you’re an EU-national looking to relocate to London after Brexit, the process will be starkly different with almost all previous rights and freedoms due to be abolished altogether or altered in some way.
In addition to a visa of some kind and a work permit, there are a number of additional factors to consider when relocating to London from an EU country. Following the acquisition of the right to work in the UK, you’ll then receive a National Insurance number – essentially an English tax code.
However, as is the norm when relocating to another country, all of this will depend on your proof of identification and proof of permanent address, plus additional documents such as your birth certificate. Without proof of these core requirements, relocating to London, would be extremely difficult.
If you have a new job or new role lined up prior to relocating, the likeliness is that your employer will arrange many/all of these things for you, but it’ll be up to you to have everything you need at hand.
The UK is also unique in that is offers free healthcare to all UK residents through the NHS (the National Health Service) – this is because health care in the UK is nationalised and available to all who require it. After Brexit, European Health Insurance Cards will become invalid and, as the NHS is funded through taxation, you will be paying your share the moment you begin getting taxed.
To safeguard against any medical emergencies that you might have, you should register with the NHS as soon as possible. You can do this quickly and easily through registering at your local GP (General Practitioner), during this application process they will give you an NHS number – meaning you are part of the British health care system and can rely on the NHS for medical assistance.
Opportunities after Brexit?
In recent months, the Brexit debate has become increasingly heated with compelling rhetoric coming from both sides of the argument. Because of this, the question of whether Brexit is a force for good or bad has become increasingly unclear of late.
While immigration from EU countries may become more challenging in the near future, there may yet be advantages for others. Many commentators are projecting that should the UK and the US forge a lucrative new trade deal, there could be opportunities for Americans looking to relocate to London and other areas of the UK and US expats already living in the UK.
Additionally, as the country looks to forge new trade deals with countries around the world, new opportunities could arise for many more around the globe.
How We Can Help
Here at SilverDoor Apartments, we’re business travel specialists and global mobility experts. Using our international inventory of serviced accommodation, we work with some of the world’s leading companies to move employees all over the globe.