Posted on 9/02/2016 by
According to the latest opinion poll the general public will vote in favour of exiting the EU. This is in contrast with results from a TechUK poll, revealing that 71% of tech businesses will vote in favour of staying in the EU. Choices need to be made and soon. The referendum will take place by the end of 2017 and could be as early as the summer this year.
For the past five years I've helped many secure cross border tech roles throughout Europe going in both directions in and out of the UK. It's no secret that the UK has had a skills shortage in IT. The migration advisory committee puts; Developer, Product Manager and Data Scientist roles on the official skills shortage list. This deficit has been reduced by the UK's freedom of access to skilled workers across the EU. The UK's Tech market has undoubtedly benefited from this.
On the other side of the fence, some UK contractors have enjoyed the freedom that contracting across the EU provides with no visa costs or delays. There are an estimated to be 478,010 Brits contracting across the EU. Whilst of course paying local tax, under EU law many benefit from paying the lower UK social security rates.
How will an exit impact UK Tech?
The reality is that if the UK did exit they would likely remain in the in the EEA (European economic area) and either have a Denmark or Swiss style agreement. So all immigrants returning home isn't really a plausible eventuality. However with immigration control top of Mr Cameron's agenda we would certainly have complex new immigration controls. This would no doubt deter the brightest and best workers from joining UK tech business's. Vice versa other EU states would likely put similar controls in place for UK workers entering. In the fast moving contract market visa's and immigration restrictions would be severely damaging.
In summary if the UK exits setting up a tech start-up in London looks a lot less appealing, it's sure to drop off as start-up capital of Europe. For the UK's Tech business's the tough task of hiring will become even harder. If you're aCONTRACTOR CONTRACTING in EU can be crossed off your bucket list.