It is becoming increasingly clear that the UK and the EU must strike a post-Brexit mutual free movement of people agreement if they are both to economically thrive over the next decade and beyond, affirms one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations.
This is the call-to-action assessment from James Green, deVere Group’s Investment Director, as Nigel Farage, one of the biggest, highest-profile advocates of Britain’s departure from the European Union, believes “Brexit has failed.”
It also follows British Home Secretary Suella Braverman addressing labour market shortages in industries such as horticulture in a speech this week, while many senior Conservatives now believe more immigration is needed to boost economic growth.
Meanwhile, prominent Brexiteer and hugely successful hotelier Sir Rocco Forte has spoken this week of “declinism” in Britain.
Speaking to The Times, he said: “If I was in Italy, I’d be able to expand quicker than I could sitting here in the UK”.
The deVere Group Investment Director says: “There’s a growing sense among politicians, the public and certainly with business leaders, that the UK and the EU must strike a post-Brexit mutual free movement of people agreement if they are both to economically thrive over the next decade and beyond.
“We have busy offices across the EU, with demand for our financial advice mainly from UK expats soaring, but the increased immigration barriers and additional administrative requirements mean it’s now a burdensome, laborious and often costly process to hire British people.
“To meet the demand, thanks to the end to the free movement of people principle, businesses like ours with bases in the EU, who are looking to recruit skilled workers from the UK, have to navigate work permits, visas, and residency requirements.
“Whilst we have the resources to do this, and simultaneously build our London operations to work with cross-border clients, many other firms do not – of if they do, they then need to cut back on expansion plans.”
James Green says that while Brexit’s ending of free movement of people “continues to cripple critical parts of the UK economy such as transport, hospitality and retail, due to 330,000 fewer workers in Britain,” the end of free movement of people following Brexit has brought economic negatives for the EU too.
“The end of free movement has created labour shortages in certain industries across the EU. Many relied on the availability of skilled and unskilled workers from the UK to fill labour gaps. The reduced access to UK workers has led to difficulties in finding suitable replacements, particularly in sectors such as healthcare, finance, agriculture, hospitality, and construction, which hinders productivity, increases costs, and impacts the growth potential of affected industries,” he explains.
The end of free movement restricts access to a diverse talent pool from the UK. As such, EU businesses face challenges in recruiting highly skilled workers, professionals and academics from the UK. The loss of this talent pool will limit the EU’s ability to attract and retain individuals with specialised skills and expertise, potentially affecting innovation, research, and development in various sectors
In addition, the scrapping of free movement of people poses challenges to economic integration. “EU member states that had significant economic ties with the UK, such as Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands, are experiencing disruptions in cross-border business activities. The coordination of regulations, standards, and licensing requirements between the EU and the UK has become more complex and is likely to be hitting trade and investment flow,” he notes.
“There’s also the serious concern regarding reduced consumer spending from the UK in areas of travel, tourism and residential tourism, which are set to have broader economic repercussions across the EU.”
The deVere Group Investment Director concludes: “Today’s jobs market is global and highly competitive.
“We cannot lose another decade discussing this.
“For both the UK and the EU to attract and retain the skilled talent required for business investment and therefore long-term, sustainable economic growth, they must work on a revised mutual free movement of people framework as a priority.”