As we all know, Brexit is fast approaching on the 29th of March 2019. But what exactly does it mean? What does the term Brexit mean? The BBC describes it as follows: ‘It is a word that is used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU – merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit.’
There are 2 ways Brexit can be finalised. The first is a soft diplomatic process, which means the UK leaves the EU in a formerly negotiated manner with an agreement on trade and a payment to the UK to soften the blow of withdrawal. But what if there is a hard Brexit? That would entail the UK leaving with no trade or legal agreement, and not paying any funds to the EU. The first (soft) option would mean a much more seamless approach for all concerned “including contractors” with a lot less turbulence in the contracting community.
However, the second (hard) option without any negotiated settlement, could lead to uncertainty, fear, and instability within the Irish business community. Such an unstable atmosphere could ultimately cause a drastic down turn in investments concerning contractor projects and hiring positions. Those contracting in Irish SMEs may also experience a negative impact. If there is a hard Brexit, the traditional market for SMEs in the UK will be severely hit, and sales may drop. Such an outcome could lead to a loss of multiple contracting positions across the SME sector.
Nevertheless, if we look carefully at a hard Brexit and what it might mean for contractors in Ireland now and after 2019, the answer would probably be “OPPORTUNITY.” Why do I say this? Because quite a few large UK-based companies, particularly London based investment banks, are already moving their operations to Dublin in preparation for a hard Brexit. These thousands of new jobs will mean more roles for contractors at potentially better rates as more companies seek skilled contractors. It may also lead to an influx of UK and European contractors looking to take advantage of these roles. In addition, employers and agencies will need to deal with this influx of foreign contractors, while coping with PPS setups, taxation, and accommodation queries.