Home Business Insights & Advice How will Brexit affect businesses in London?

How will Brexit affect businesses in London?

28th Mar 18 1:42 pm

What impact is it having

This June, it will have been two years since the UK voted to leave the European Union. Recently, attention has turned to how Brexit will affect businesses across the country and the new trade laws they have to follow once the UK departs the EU.

Trading overseas is something many businesses in London do, but it is likely to be one of many things changing when Brexit is finalised. A new trade deal between the UK and EU is being talked about, but the European Council’s president Donald Tusk nixed the idea of one being agreed post-Brexit.

London’s businesses will, in all likelihood, have to pay higher tariffs than it currently does for trading with EU member states. For companies who trade heavily with the likes of France, Germany and the Netherlands, this will see them hit hard financially and look elsewhere for customers.

New immigration laws

Many companies in the capital have hired talent from other EU countries. As members of the Schengen Area, they can employ people from EU countries without restrictions. Brexit will change all that, making it harder to hire the best talent from overseas. Instead, businesses affected will have to look closer to home or do without the skills that foreign workers bring.

To deal with any uncertainty, workers from EU countries may wonder if they are able to stay put or if they will have to live elsewhere. No guarantees have yet been made about the rights of EU workers to remain in the UK. Seeking advice from immigration lawyers will be the best course of action for employers wondering what to do after Brexit.

Closing offices

This also has an impact on London businesses who have sister or satellite offices in the EU. Any satellite offices of multinationals in London may be closed down to either help cut down costs or to keep trading freely in the European Union.

One such company that has already made that decision is Unilever, who are moving their head offices from London to Rotterdam. Although they denied a link with Brexit, it will allow the company to keep operating as it did before relocation. This decision will be monitored closely by other major brands with HQs in London.

London businesses with smaller offices overseas will be faced with a tough decision. They could either run as they are under new, potentially more expensive trade rules, close down offices abroad or choose to relocate to an EU member state. Even as a major global city, London could lose out in any of these scenarios.

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