Post Brexit: Will We See A Change in Cross Border Working? - Source Technology
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Post Brexit: Will We See A Change in Cross Border Working?

The moment millions of Brits have been looking forward to for many years now is finally upon us as the transition period has formally ended on 31st December 2020. As an independent nation once again, we’ll be free to set out own laws and determine our own inner workings from fisheries and trade to freedom of movement.

It is an exciting time, however there are many unforeseen consequences of Brexit that may have not been fully considered, especially in the area of cross-border working.

It’s no secret that physical shipments of goods across the border has been thrown into turmoil with the necessity of correct papers and documents for freight and goods. Many have seen this as added pressure on the freight forwarding industry, however in reality the forms are quite simple and should not have too much of an effect on the day to day business.

But having said that, this cross-border hinderance is not something that every British company is prepared to take lightly, and some smaller businesses have stopped imports into the EU at least temporarily whilst they organise themselves.

Adjusting to change

Since Brexit became binding officially, the effect on cross-border relations started to show slowly but surely. Over 50,000 vacancies of lorry drivers were announced, and that figure was not dissimilar in the warehousing sector which is intricately tied with it. Some 300,000 nationals of the EU returned to their countries of origin as we moved out of the free trade area which also impacted the supply chains.

Immigration controls that have now been put in place are also deterring workers from the EU, and working in the UK has become less attractive now than at any point in the past few decades. The introduction of visas and other work permits are now required, which puts a stumbling block in the way of anyone wishing to work in the UK.

The opposite is also true for British nationals, now not allowed to spend more than 90 days out of any 180 day period in the EU countries like France, Germany and Poland without the appropriate documentation. This has undoubtedly had a huge impact on cross-border working and the plans of workers to relocate abroad to the EU has been huge.

Whilst existing rights were protected, any new applications will be treated differently, so for example, a UK citizen wanting to start a new business or find a new job in Italy or Spain now has to go through the same processes required of by a Chinese or a Canadian national. The reverse is also true, and whilst in years past we have benefited from an influx of seasonal workers to fuel the economy from places like Poland and Romania, that is also likely to cease as cross-border working has become more cumbersome.

Digital working without boundaries

The rise of digital workers offering services online has however seen a major boost because they are not subject to the same kinds of restrictions when it comes to delivering goods. Those working in the technology sector for example – coders, pentesters, data analysts – are able to provide their service to businesses in a foreign country without leaving the UK. Many online workers in this field are not hindered at all by the Brexit transition period ending, and will continue to work much in the same way as they did before.

Financial services are also being pushed to the limits with the new rules and regulations, as much of the work can be done online however in person meetings and discussions still need to take place, meaning that movement across borders is a highly essential part of daily business.

So we can see that although Brexit has brought a wealth of benefits to the UK, we also have some major challenges to deal with moving forward, especially where the physical movement of goods is concerned. We can rest assured that both sides have been fairly amicable at this national divorce from the EU superstate, and there have been numerous indications that the people of all nations are the primary concern, and helping them to achieve better business practices is profitable for everyone concerned.

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