U.K. voters decided on Thursday to leave the European Union, sending shockwaves through the rest of the world. So what happens next after this momentous decision?
The British government will now make plans to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and initiate negotiations for an exit from the EU. It is expected that this process will take considerably longer than the two-year period written into the treaty, and could extend to as long as 10 years. So, in reality, it is unlikely that very much will change overnight to affect your existing U.K. and EU assignees. However, you should start to communicate strongly, positively and regularly with this group of colleagues.
Be mindful of a dip to the value of the pound (GBP), which was widely predicted by the financial markets and has proven to be true. In trading immediately after the vote, the pound is down more than 6% against the U.S. dollar. This could impact some assignees' allowances and salaries (those on split pay), and you should be ready to field questions and have answers on hand.
Future moves of U.K. citizens to EU countries and vice versa may be impacted by employee concern, hesitancy and political red tape. We’d recommend a strong line of communication between hiring managers and global mobility during these uncertain times, as recruitment of key talent who fall into this post-Brexit group could prove to be time consuming and challenging.
Additionally, you may start to receive questions from existing assignees about whether you will support their application for permanent citizenship within the U.K. or the EU country in which they currently reside on assignment. Be ready to provide clear direction and guidance on whether you’ll financially support this process, and whether any support will extend to all family members or just your employee. Again, no immediate action will be required; however, your assignee will likely seek a clear answer.
The main message to any affected assignee is to stay calm and that you have no plans for early repatriation or re-assignment that will affect their role within the organisation, unless you do.
The un-coupling from the EU is likely to take much longer than the average long-term assignment and perhaps even longer than most of us have been involved with this industry. So, for now, communicate strongly, prepare answers to the likely questions and be reassured that Plus will continue to support you with any information that will help you navigate through this post-Brexit period.
A referendum - a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part - was held on Thursday 23 June, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 52% to 48%.