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Melanie Dawkins, CEO – Partner of AMA Expat UK. I am a British Native, who has been an Expat living and working overseas for 10+ years in International Affairs.
We provide professional guidance and facilitation to those interested in making an impact in their organisation and the world by the empowerment of change. Placing them in a position where they are equipped to move and work in this global arena to be highly visible internationally, we hope to make the world an even more extraordinary place to live and work.
We specialise in Relocation, Expatriation, Residency Management, Diplomatic Services, Inter-Cultural Unity, and Education.
We will be delighted to discuss a tailor-made solution for your Relocation and Residential needs, on-line or in person with one of our Personal Expat Mentors (PEM)
Our Office hours are: Monday – Saturday 10 am to 10 pm UK GMT
After MPs voted against Theresa May’s proposed withdrawal agreement with a historic defeat, and the opposition lost the vote of no confidence in the government, it has been a busy few days to get your heads around. With Plan B to be presented on January 21st, we looked at 10 key questions surrounding the vote and the potential ramifications in the coming months.
After postponing the vote from its original date before Christmas to garner more support, the ‘meaningful’ vote was always going to be in the spotlight. After an historic loss, Jeremy Corbyn immediately tabled a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, which highlights just how much was riding on it. In the end, the PM won the confidence vote thanks to the support of hard-line Brexiters and the DUP, but it’s clear that the situation is tense and her control of the situation remains tenuous as she reaches out to other parties.
May closed the five days of debates with a short speech this evening, with the vote kicking off with backbench amendments first. Three of the amendments were withdrawn and the last one soundly defeated, which put all the focus on the proposed Brexit deal. The advantage of this approach would have been clearer if the Bill had passed, as too many amendments may have caused difficulties with the EU. However, given the government’s defeat, these Bills do highlight the divisions across parliament about the best way to proceed.
A number of influential Tory MPs and key members of the Cabinet voted in favour of May’s proposed withdrawal agreement. The DUP, who in the past has adamantly opposed the controversial Northern Irish backstop, came out in favour of May. A small number of Labour MPs and one independent also voted for the Bill, but this was not enough to quash the rebellion within May’s own party and the Bill lost due to those MPs joining Labour and the Liberal Democrats in voting against the deal.
There are a number of factors at play. Rebel backbenchers from the Conservative party who opposed the Brexit deal in its current state demonstrated some loyalty to the PM – despite the fact that the party had its own confidence vote not too long ago. However, some of this may be down to clever politicking – had the PM lost, a general election would have been almost inevitable and that this would be very likely to put paid to the UK staying on track to leave the EU on 29th March. The DUP also voted in support of Theresa May – this honours the agreement between the two parties which allows the PM to maintain her majority, but it does also highlight the government’s reliance on the DUP. Aside from the practical concerns about the Irish border, this is one of the many reasons that the question of the Irish backstop has become such a hot-button issue.
The backstop is an insurance policy in UK-EU Brexit negotiations, according to Full Fact. Right now the Irish border remains open and the backstop effectively means it stays that way, regardless of future negotiations. As the only land border with the EU, Northern Ireland could remain aligned to EU single market rules, which might mean checks on goods entering NI. Different regulations for NI compared to the rest of the UK have been met with some criticism. Introducing potential check points could go against the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, a key component of the Northern Irish peace process. This cross-border cooperation is therefore significantly important.
A number of Cabinet ministers revealed that a growing backlog of key bills could force Brexit to be delayed beyond March 29th, according to the Evening Standard. Six essential bills must be passed before the deadline and some ministers are apparently convinced the timetable is too tight currently. However, the prime minister’s spokesperson has ruled out extending Article 50 and has instead stated that the legislation will be passed in time for the Brexit deadline. After a dramatic day in parliament, Theresa May said in her speech that she would be reaching out to all parties to try to come to an agreement which keeps the current plan on track. Nonetheless, sterling spiked against major currencies in response of the potential delay, strengthening against the euro and the dollar by 1.1% versus the low of the day on 11th January.
Our infographic includes a few scenarios that are being banded around. Theresa May has just three days to produce an alternative plan. If agreement cannot be reached, then a no-deal is on the cards. A complete renegotiation may require an extension of Article 50, effectively delaying Brexit.
Given that the PM won the vote of confidence, the prospect of a general election is off the table for now – but the spectre of that possibility is likely to remain present for some time and it could still happen if the next three days don’t yield any tangible positive results.
Finally a second referendum could take place. Such options can’t be rushed through and may still require an extension on potentially leaving in any case.
In summary, a lot could happen with a number of other consequences not even included in this list.
The EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier highlighted that the onus is on the British government to move their “red lines” and come up with a reasonable alternative if they wish the EU to consider it. The key concern of the EU, he stated, was that although the plan was rejected, there didn’t seem to be any consensus about an alternative option. When speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg, he said:
“Objectively speaking, this vote is not a clear manifestation of a positive majority which would define an alternative project, and an alternative to the proposal on the table today… So, in this context, it is up to the British authorities today or tomorrow to assess the outcome of this vote and up to the British government to find how we are to take things forward on 29 March towards an orderly withdrawal.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed this view that it was not up to the EU to make the first move, stating, “We believe it is up to the British side, as the prime minister has announced, to tell us what happens next.”
European Council President Donald Tusk was more straightforward in his approach, tweeting that perhaps the project should be abandoned: “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”
Jean-Claude Junker demonstrated his impatience with the process, saying simply, “Time is almost up.” and Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, was just as succinct in his warning that an abrupt British exit from the EU would be “catastrophic”
President Macron of France was more scathing in his approach, highlighting how damaging a no-deal scenario would be and how he would continue to protect French interests. He gave a damning summation of the task ahead for the British government with the words, “Good luck to the representatives of the nation who has to implement a thing which doesn’t exist and has to explain to the people: you have voted on a thing, we lied to you.”
Across the board, EU leaders appear both frustrated and increasingly concerned, with leaders from Belgium, Denmark and Luxembourg, reacting to the result of the vote on social media by stating that they were actively preparing for a no-deal scenario
At this point, it’s hard to say what’s going to happen next. It’s clear that Theresa May has a difficult task ahead, and is currently reaching out to all parties to try to reach a consensus before her time runs out on 21st January. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to join talks unless the threat of a no-deal exit was ruled out; while May dismissed this as self-interest, it’s clear that there is a lot of concern regarding no-deal scenarios across all parties and the PM may have to concede this to ensure she doesn’t lose any other supporters in the process. It’s clear that Theresa May still intends for the UK to leave the EU on 29th March, stating; “It will not be an easy task, but MPs know they have a duty to act in the national interest, reach a consensus and get this done.” Whether or not she achieves this remains to be seen.
This has been the most important vote since the 2016 membership referendum, which saw the pound slump to a 31-year low. We traded a month’s worth of volume in a day on the original Brexit referendum result and as such Moneycorp is bracing for a similar reaction in the pound. After May pulled the initial vote date in December, sterling fell to a 20-month low against USD. Currencies tend to favour certainty, but right now there are a number of outcomes of which nobody is sure what they could lead to. A no-deal could cause volatility, as suggested by the PM herself, but if her deal passes, then the UK is in unchartered waters once more.
In times like these, it’s important to work with an FX provider that understands the ever-moving markets. If you have any international payments to make, speak to an expert at Moneycorp who can offer you guidance on +44 (0) 207 589 3000.
Alternatively, businesses can speak to our team on +44 (0) 7823 7800.
Taking the enormous step of moving to a new country can bring with it a mixture of feelings. The excitement of making the giant leap coupled with the anxiety of doing so can be common as the big move looms. But, no matter how many times they do it, the process of moving countries is never straight forward. In the climate that we live in there are so many external factors that shape an expats opportunities.
How does the Finance Industry impact expats?
Before considering a move there is a considerable amount of financial planning that needs to take place. Money needs to be moved, invested, saved, I could go on. The global finance and banking industry impacts how we do all of these things. You need to set up bank accounts, apply for mortgages, get insurance and make sure you’ve budgeted. Let’s also not forget about exchange rates. This process, however, is getting easier. Technology is developing to make dealing with money as an expat a lot easier. There are now online only banks, paying bills is a lot easier, as is access to credit. All of these new developments are providing more jobs for expats around the globe too.
We are seeing these ‘fin-tech’ corporations grow by the year and the result of that is hiring in talent from around the world. In the graph below you can see that 42% of the UK’s Fintech workforce as expats.
Top financial cities for Expats
It goes without saying that New York comes out top as the finance capital of the world. Nearly every global financial company has a home within Wall Street. There are however a number of other cities whose popularity are on the rise. London continues to grow in the popularity stakes, despite Brexit looming. Next up is Singapore, a recent study showed that 53% of FinTech companies were looking to hire talent from overseas. Switzerland, Hong Kong, Germany & Tokyo are also increasingly popular destinations for expats working within the finance world.
Before you move it’s important to look at the structure of the economy in the country you wish to move to as well as the differences in salary, cost of living language and local cultures. You’ve probably read it a million times but organization and preparation is key. If you don’t do the groundwork you could end up with some real tax concerns. Protecting your finances and preparing your taxes correctly will mean you can reap the rewards of a new, successful lifestyle overseas.
If you are looking to move to a city where the fintech scene is on the rise, be careful with competition. Last year it was reported that expats in Hong Kong only got 15% of finance job placements, down from 40%. It is essential that you do your research and be prepared to put in the time and dedication to prove yourself.
How can the Expatland Global Network help?
Expatland can help you plan, research and understand your upcoming move to make it as easy as possible for you. Our E-Teams are made up of global professionals who can provide you with tax advice, currency exchange, business tax support, mortgages, insurance and pensions. We can look after all of your financial needs to make the process as streamlined as possible.
By John Marcarian, Founder, Expatland Global Network
Davenport Solicitors is an award-winning, specialist business immigration and employment law firm, in London. We pride ourselves on providing excellent client care and a personal service to our clients. We help our business clients on a range of matters, such as obtaining a Sponsorship licence, so that businesses can recruit overseas nationals and acting as a level 1 user, to help business keep on top their obligations as a Sponsor. We also provide advice and assistance to individuals seeking to:
Why choose us?
Vandana Dass – Senior Solicitor/Managing Director
Davenport Solicitors Limited
HR/Employment and Immigration Law Specialists
Tel: 0207 903 6889
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Ashfords’ immigration team support businesses of all sizes and individuals on a wide range of UK immigration issues.
We advise sole representatives and entrepreneurs setting up business in the UK for the first time in addition to established businesses in the UK who wish to transfer employees from an overseas group company or source the talent of non-EEA nationals for skilled roles.
We also help businesses recruit migrant workers, offer ongoing support to ensure legal compliance, advise on the prevention of illegal working and give practical advice on preparing for the potential consequences of Brexit. We also provide a complete immigration compliance audit service and provide training and support for in-house teams on immigration law and carrying out right to work checks.
We advise on personal immigration matters for high net worth individuals, family based visa applications, settlement and naturalisation and the rights of EEA nationals to live in the UK.