What does Brexit mean for freelancers?

   

As Great Britain is going through great disarray and a fog of uncertainty has enveloped the country, we’re drilling down into the million-pound question that’s on every freelancer’s mind right now – what does Brexit mean for me?

There are currently more questions than answers, as the UK government scrambles for plausible way-outs. However, there’s one thing that we know for certain – the people of the UK have chosen to leave the EU.

This brings into question a range of aspects that concern freelancers – everything from getting paid as a freelancer to having your professional qualifications recognised in all other EU countries.

So let’s delve a little deeper.

The right to freely travel and work in any other EU-member country

It’s important to establish the fact that the UK is still a member of the EU and will probably remain so for at least 2 years. As it stands, all UK citizens have the right to work and travel in other European countries (that are members of the EU) without any visas or work permits. At the same time, citizens of other EU-member countries are entitled to the same right of the free movement of people.

It’s an ideal scenario for freelancers who often like to travel while on the job and enjoy other perks of working remotely.

Given the strong anti-immigration sentiments that tinged the Leave Campaign, it’s highly likely the UK will try to ditch the free movement agreement. In that case, the right to freely travel and work anywhere in the EU for UK citizens will be off the table too.

All EU countries have different immigration policies and rules for non-EU citizens who want to live and work there. For example, freelancers who are non-EU nationals hoping to settle down in France or Germany have to demonstrate how their business will benefit the country as well as prove that they’re able to fully finance their business by providing bank statements as hard evidence.

So although it suddenly becomes a considerably more complicated affair than connecting your laptop to a free wifi and cracking on with your projects, it will still be possible (just a less attractive option).

Getting paid as a freelancer after Brexit

Currently, all EU citizens benefit from being able to move capital freely without any extra charges. As one of the corner principles of the EU, it gives freelancers that great peace of mind of accepting payments seamlessly and securely. When the UK leaves the EU, this will likely get more complicated and more expensive if either the freelancer or the client is based outside the UK, as new extra costs will be introduced for paying money into a UK bank account.

Your professional qualifications after Brexit

The UK’s membership of the EU means that your professional qualifications are recognised in all EU-member countries. Being able to prove that you’re qualified for a job is extremely important in any field and though freelancers have the fall-back option of using their personal portfolio to establish trust, professional qualifications are still an important factor in winning new projects.

In the case of Brexit, UK might be excluded from this agreement.

The light in the tunnel

It sounds crazy, but Brexit may actually bring a lot of opportunities for UK freelancers. The global recession in 2008 was regarded as one of the key boosters of the freelance economy, as strapped-for-cash businesses searched for alternative ways to keep the projects running at minimal costs.

With the Brexit-induced economic recession on the way, UK businesses may once again turn to contractors and freelancers instead of taking on full-time or part-time employees. And as one’s loss becomes the other’s gain, the show must go on.

One thing we shouldn’t forget though is that technology and the Internet have already erased all borders.

PeoplePerHour is an embodiment of the global market that is knocking down traditional borders and bureaucratic barriers. Connecting businesses with professional freelancers from all over the world, it makes the Brexit fears seem somewhat irrelevant to the freelance economy.

As a freelancer, you’re still in full control of who you choose to work with and on what terms. In fact, the shrinking value of the pound against the euro and dollar represents a potential opportunity for UK-based freelancers to attract more international clients as their purchasing power increases.

The reality…

Until the UK has secured an exit deal with the EU, we’re left in the dark about many complex issues, including the impact on freelancers and the freelance economy. Although there are many concerns that threaten our standard of living, such as tax rises and spending cuts, increasing prices of air travel and the diminishing purchasing power of the pound, freelancers (like lawyers) are expected to cash in from this unexpected turn of events.

13 Comments

  • Faryad

    Well, with so much respect to the people of UK, I was shocked by this strange decision that the super-literate people of UK made. You know, in the year of 2016 separatism is highly deprecated and today’s world/communities seek to remove borders as much as possible and to unite the whole world regardless of ethnic, colour, nationality, etc. It is politicians, gun-makers, and war-seekers that don’t like this unity and always seek separatism. I believe the highly respected people of UK and their great sense of patriotism have been misused in order to urge them vote for this nightmare- regardless of the consequences. These people purely love their country and that’s great. But now, their senses have been misused for starting a new game. A game which results in alienation, complex finances, unemployment, etc.
    I hope everything will be fine with both UK people and the whole world but this is only a hope. I’m afraid, there are some people out there who don’t let the world breath for a while.
    As a full-time freelancer, I believe this would be too bad for all of us; inside UK or outside. We will have less deals to make and we will be more alienated than before. There’s no doubt. Both buyers and sellers will be harmed indeed and we must prepare ourselves to face this. It seems the world without guns and borders is just a dream even in the era of negotiation!
    Let’s hope and let’s be unite (freelancers)! Let’s at least be unite in this virtual world with the hope to improve the freelancing platform.This is the only thing we can do right now and I expect PPH to help everyone for fulfilling this.

  • Mirza Gluhalic

    It is slap to the face for the New World Order, and as soon as we dismantle European Fascists Union we are closer to freedom. European Union has done nothing for small human, whole concept of countries without borders in only helping big corporation while we are sitting and watching our land being taken away.
    UK has made great step in right direction, and as long as other countries keep on the same way we stand chance against 1%.

  • Tom Freeman

    As a UK citizen, I can promise you that not everyone in the country is super-literate. In fact, the Leave campaign targeted the simplistic and stupid to vote us out, with untrue slogans which somehow stuck in the minds of simpletons. I can only take comfort in the fact that, with a 72% turnout, only around half of that voted to leave the EU.

    Unfortunately, that also means that, as always, the UK gets a horrible result that a minority voted for.

    Hey ho.

  • Sarowar Parvej

    Regarding “Brexit” decision, i am just shocked and this is going to affect businesses based in UK. So, i don’t know what to say but London is the heart of Europe and how this can be changed! I don’t agree that 48% people have to lead their life in the choices of 52% people. How can they agree on it if the difference is not at least 20%. I support the step taken by Londoners. Let’s see what is waiting for us…

  • Harry

    It is not about separatism, it is not about misuse of patriotism. The British have found out that the EU is decaying and that they have nothing to be gained from it: weak leadership, uncontrolled borders, immigration and economy…
    The UK is better off outside the EU and the EU is not going to last for long after this decision.

    The UK will no longer be part of the EU but it will still be part of Europe, as it has always been. The British are going nowhere. They just kicked out the EU institution to lead their country themselves as it should be.
    Collaboration and cooperation is not going to stop.

  • Shahinur Rahman

    Time Will say what is BREXIT.

  • David Robinson

    Only by one measure did the UK population vote to leave the EU. On a show of hands among those who bothered to vote the Leave won by about 2%, but if you look at the percentage of the electorate who were entitled to vote, only 37% voted to leave and 63% either wanted to stay in or were happy to remain as we are and didnt cast a vote either way.

    The article states that freelancers may benefit “as strapped-for-cash businesses searched for alternative ways to keep the projects running at minimal costs” but I don’t believe many of us want to sell our skills at minimal cost.

    In that scenario it’s logical to assume that as “strapped-for-cash businesses” lay off staff and save money they will also pay freelancers a lot less too.

    Some of the people who lose jobs will turn to freelancing, which may lower quality and will certainly lower prices because more people will compete for the work and potential employers will use that to drive down costs.

  • Sreekanth

    To me…as an Indian going to be a loss :).. The value of pound to reached from 99 to 90..Rupees Vs Pound.Nearly 10% loss for me

  • Graeme Pietersz

    This is unduly pessimistic.

    British freelancers will find it easier to get business abroad at the same rates – or they can raise rates in sterling while keeping prices in other currencies stable.

    If freedom of movement within the EU goes, it will be bad for those who get contracts to work on-site in other countries. It will be good for those who work remotely, or those who work on-site within there own country, as there will be less competition. It will be good for anyone outside the EU (more remote work in the UK, probably easier to get UK work visas for non-EU citizens).

    It is unlikely that there will be a significant change to banking costs.

    The professional qualifications issue only really matters for people who have qualifications that need legal recognition (e.g. doctors and lawyers). I know a lot of people with non-EU qualifications working in the UK, and lots of people working in Asia with British qualifications. Very few people on PPH are doing that sort of work.

  • Neil Owen

    Couldn’t agree more Tom Freeman!

  • Adam Gill

    BREXIT is continuing to shock the rest of the world. It’s also a shock for our national politicians, who find it unfathomable that we, as a nation, have chosen this path. But they, as the rest of the world, must accept and respect that decision. It’s not going to be easy – we can see that, already. Will we have a political leadership that is willing to actually lead us out of the EU? That’s debateable. The fundamental aspect of the decision is that the British, as a nation, have formed the opinion that our ruling elite simply stopped listening and carried on regardless – most current case in point: WMD/Iraq War and the Chilcot Enquiry. That sentiment was exacerbated by the faceless and nameless policy makers in Brussels, ridiculed in our national press at every opportunity…

    Political aspects aside, I personally think it is a bold move that will no doubt affect those of us who travel to foreign shores on freelance assignments. But – for those of us who work remotely – I can see no difference, apart from a few years of fluctuating exchange rates.

  • PAWAN KUMAR GUPTA

    I Like is cycling business in the UK and I want franchise Indian

  • Rena

    I think you hit a buylesle there fellas!

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