Brexit: to deal or not to deal for the sake of the UK tech industry?

3rd December 2018

Elicia Wilkinson

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The important thing to remember in all the information that is published about Brexit, and in reading this blog, is that as an EU developer looking to gain employment in the UK the best time to move is before 2020 but you have until 2022 when the transition period is set to end.

Letter to the Nation 

Following Theresa May’s public address in the letter to the nation there has been an outcry surrounding her proposal. For the next two weeks the UK is on tender hooks while we wait for our politicians to complete the marathon of 8-hour day talks to come to a final decision on the 11th December.

The first point addressed in the letter states: “We will take back control of our borders, by putting an end to the free movement of people once and for all. Instead of an immigration system based on where a person comes from, we will build one based on the skills and talents a person has to offer”.

If May is successful in passing this agreement, then it is set to kick off at the start of 2021. In the meantime, while the UK and EU debate their future relationship we will continue to honour the free movement of people. This will continue into the transitional period after March 2019, provided that parliament approves the UK and EU’s withdrawal agreement.

The tech industry in the UK accounts for 80% of the British economy and trades over £400 billion each year. In a previous blog we touched on the UK “as the leading tech hub in Europe” which we can happily report currently has not suffered. However, since the announcement of the UK vote to leave the EU in 2016 many market leaders have warned that the UK does stand to suffer in the event of a harsh Brexit that leaves the nation disconnected from the European economy.

To deal or not to deal? 

Granted the majority of the public are still holding out for a new referendum and for the UK to remain in the EU, unfortunately at this stage is an understandable but ultimately unrealistic option. Despite it being by no means perfect, faced with the two sides of a deal or no deal for the sake of the UK’s successful tech sector the prime minister’s deal is the most realistic way forward.

The reason being it delivers the three main things that the tech industry desperately needs to hang on to: market access, high-skilled labour and rules on the transfer of data. Under the deal, the UK and EU would work together to facilitate data flows and tackle any unjustified data localisation barriers that disrupt businesses by setting rules on where data must be stored and processed. With the deal there would be no immediate disruption, instead a strategically designed decoupling.

How can Strategic help? 

As it stands Non-EU citizens are required to earn a £30,000 salary to secure work approval in the UK. Post Brexit, the government has promised to extend the same visa rules to EU workers. Luckily Strategic People have built a loyal portfolio of tech companies who offer this as a minimum for highly skilled workers, such as Software Developers. As an example, we’ve found in 2018 that for Front End Developers (permanent roles) with more than 4 years’ commercial experience, salary packages have ranged between £50,000 – £85,000.

Matthew McKenna, Strategic’s Head of Perm, offers the following advice for developer’s actively seeking positions in the UK, “Get in touch with Technology Team here at Strategic People! Our experts will give you an in-depth overview of market trends this year, what the interview process will look like if you decide to proceed with applications and then how we can help with elements involved in relocating to the UK. The best feature about this all – our service is completely free to every single candidate!!”

If you’re a developer seeking employment in the UK, please check out our live jobs here.

For full details on how we can assist in your relocation process, please get in touch with our dedicated tech team here.