Leave or Remain - Britain votes today

Thursday morning has seen the British populace take to the polls in order to vote on remaining or leaving the EU.

Go to the profile of Courtney Ellis-Jones
Jun 23, 2016
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The historic vote for whether Britain will remain in the European Union is underway this morning. With figures suggesting the results are too close to predict, the vote will be a surprise either way it lands.

The potential of Brexit has been debated fiercely in national newspapers, on television shows and among colleagues; however, the truth is, the Leave camp cannot predict the response from the EU and that leaves Global Mobility practitioners in peril. Not because of the political ramifications, but because of the compliance, immigration, tax and benefits positions that will have to be re-negotiated and re-determined with a fully independent Britain.

The EU is under no obligation to continue their preferential treatment of British nationals and business, which will prove challenging to multinationals operating across Europe. While other cities in Europe have healthy financial sectors, no where else in the world compares to London for its strength and breadth of banking and financial services, leading to worry about staffing the requirements for talent in the city.

While there will be a period of scope, should Britain vote to leave, the ramifications of the vote are still unknown. While there would be two years for implementation, there is still potential for parliament to determine if the deal is in the favour of Britain. There is discussion on whether there will be another vote, should Britain vote either way, which makes Britain look volatile to worldwide businesses and could have impact on whether European nationals and global companies wish to move and establish themselves here.

The largest ramification for Global Mobility will be on the talent pool to choose from. Leave has not detailed their plans for immigration into Britain in the immediate aftermath, let alone after the two year period. By restricting Europeans, talent and global mobility managers will find it difficult to fill critical gaps quickly; however, it could enable more talent to be brought in from the Americas, Africa and Asia; but that remains unknown and dependent on how the Tier 2 and other immigration schemes may change or develop. Theresa May and the Conservative Party have indicated kerbing immigration to be one of their goals and changes to the UKVI have supported this. Whether there would be a relaxation for non-EU nationals to even the talent gap is yet unknown.

The response of having to repatriate talent, either to or from Britain, will also throw programmes into chaos should Leave win. While two years is a respectable time frame for implementation, many assignments and projects are for longer periods and could disrupt organisational ambitions. The strain a Leave vote could put on mobility programmes cannot be underscored enough. Even with healthy planning, the next two years after a Leave vote would lend itself to reactive planning, rather than strategic and programmes will be saturated with plans on how to move their talent to their best ability.

Is your programme prepared for this? The uncertainty of the vote, however, has been good for one thing: many people are examining their programmes to see how they can respond to crisis points. If nothing else, this will hopefully help programmes strategically detail how to build elasticity into their programmes around the movement of their people with contingencies in place.

The polls are open and the vote will be in shortly.

Go to the profile of Courtney Ellis-Jones

Courtney Ellis-Jones

Courtney began her career in global mobility nearly a decade ago. She originally began her career working in the in-house HR function, but transitioned to a role with a destination services provider inside the business development remit. Courtney has focused since on high level transformation of mobility programmes, including policy reform, process improvements and academic research. Her career has led her to touch all sides of the global mobility function from working as a supplier to delivering in-house mobility services. She has worked across industries and regions, having lived in the United States, France, Hungary, Estonia and the United Kingdom and has been with FEM since October 2015.

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