May 12, 2021

Employment in the United Kingdom for EU citizens

Employment in the United Kingdom for EU citizens


The Anglo-Saxons have a curious way of distinguishing traditional jobs. They identify them according to the color of the collar of the uniform that, historically, the person who carried out this type of work used to wear. The «blue collar», for that reason of the blue monkey, are those that carry out manufacturing and industrial works; the "white collar", the white shirt, the administrative, executive and office staff, and the "pink collar", for having been associated with women, hospitality staff, "retail", teaching or assistance. The abundance of the latter have been those that have made the United Kingdom an attractive work destination. Every little time we heard that someone was going to London to look for work in a hotel, a restaurant or a store. It was a usual way out when he was not here. European citizenship made it easy, but once the Brexit (next March 29) has separated the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU), it is worth wondering if it will be worth it to pack up to the British Isles.

So did the 156,000 Spaniards who are residing there, according to data from the National Statistical Office of the United Kingdom. Most of them work in education and health, and another large proportion in hospitality and tourism (typical "pink collar"). And, between the two blocks, the second most occupied by Spaniards is finance, which breaks with the myth that everyone ends up in a waiter or clerk position.

In any case, they went to the United Kingdom looking for a professional future because of the strong demand for jobs, especially in large cities. The other reason is that the nation's belonging to the EU allowed freedom of movement of people. It was sufficient to accredit the European nationality with the DNI, now there will be new procedures that will make it much harder to think of the British Isles as a destination.

Permanent resident

Those who are already there working or arriving before the Brexit is executed will not be saved from the bureaucracy either. You will have to perform a certain procedure. By the time the departure from the EU becomes effective, they must have a Permanent Resident Card. In order to obtain it, it will be necessary to provide proof of five years of residence in the country (such as a work contract, rental of housing or tax returns) and pay 74 euros.

The Europeans who enter the United Kingdom after the Brexit "will not have a preference or a right of permanent and unlimited residence as up to now. It will be a strictly British matter. Undoubtedly, there will be more controls and regulation and initially, Europeans will not have preference over other nationalities, "says the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain in the United Kingdom, Eduardo Barrachina.

In addition, it will be necessary to be what is called a "qualified person", who is working as an employee, self, actively seeks employment, has economic self-sufficiency or is studying.

The main change for those who now live in the United Kingdom is that leaving the country for a season will go from being an unrestrained decision to a problem. Whoever holds the Permanent Residence Card will lose that status if he stays two years out. And with the demands for mobility of jobs, any European citizen could be forced to abandon the nation for a while. Going back with everything the Brexit implies will not be so easy.

The United Kingdom will cease to be one of the paradises of employment, not only because of the bureaucracy. The labor market will suffer strongly due to Brexit. Once an agreement has been reached between the EU and the British Government to make the exit "smooth", it is closer to the best scenario for both parties. However, it will be necessary to wait to "see if the agreement is ratified by the Parliament", says the principal investigator of the Elcano Royal Institute, Federico Steinberg.

If so, he continues, "we will enter a period of transition until 2021. Until then nothing will change, but from there, a new situation must have been negotiated." In this context, a report by Cambridge Econometrics, commissioned by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, indicates that the nation would lose some 176,000 jobs before 2030 and the 20,000 million pounds that they would stop investing will have to blame.

Whitout deal

If these damages to the British economy impress, those that would occur, in case of non-ratification of the agreement, will be worse. The vote in the British Parliament will be on December 11 and it seems that the disconnection will end up being "hard". In an event organized by the Chamber of Commerce, the president of the Spanish Financial Forum in London, Antonio Oporto, said that "unless a rabbit comes out of the hat, the parliament will not ratify the agreement." For Barrachina, it is impossible to reach one unless the intense institutional campaign succeeds in changing the positions of the deputies against.

In that reality, employment in the United Kingdom will definitely plummet. The report of Cambridge Econometrics maintains that the country would lose half a million jobs and more than 56 million euros in investments. So not only will the current labor market be very depleted. The future creation of employment will slow down because the reduction of capital inflow will be an obstacle to the birth of new companies.

The sectors that will suffer the most are those that offer the most work to Spaniards, health, education and finance. So, in the near future, that myth may be fulfilled that the jobs that are for us in the UK are only waiter or dependent. The lack of qualified professionals in the British National Health Service (NHS) has caused health personnel to find a job without problems. But now 60% of European doctors consider leaving their position to occupy it in another country, according to a survey by the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom. One of the main reasons is that the NHS itself has warned of the budget cuts that the Brexit entails. And it is that the aid for research and development granted by the EU will no longer be perceived. So labor progress in that sector is complicated.

The "au pair" plays an important role in education and care. These are young people who reside in a foreign country temporarily (especially with the aim of learning the language) to care for the children of a host family. Since it can not be proven that you will live in the United Kingdom continuously, you can not apply for the Permanent Resident Card, so this option is discarded for those who wanted to combine language immersion with work experience.

On the other side is the most qualified faculty, the university student, who no longer considers the British Isles as a destination. The most significant data is provided by the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), according to which the applications of European teachers in the universities of the United Kingdom had dropped by 7% not even one year after the holding of the separation referendum. As in the case of health, higher education gives great value to research and, in this sense, teachers have shown their concern not to receive European funds.

Financial sector

Finally, with regard to finances, the Bank of England announced at the end of July that the sector will lose 5,000 jobs before the Brexit takes place. After it becomes effective, the drain could be extended to 75,000 jobs. The London City will no longer be that placid "El Dorado" for European bankers, who (and in Spain we have the example of this in the Catalan referendum) could see how the headquarters of their companies move to another country that are within the Schengen area (in which the United Kingdom is not today) and, thus, avoid financial borders.

The large entities in this sector already take into account the effects of Brexit. The "country head" of Banco Sabadell in the United Kingdom, Albert Coll, commented in the Chamber of Commerce that using the community passport will become as if we had never been in the United Kingdom. And that is why Banco Sabadell has been installed in the country for 40 years. Now, they must request the corresponding license. "In the last six months I have done nothing but work on the requirements to apply for a third country license," Coll said, and thus meet the new requirements. If the financial giants are already struggling to overcome the obstacles, the consequences on small credit institutions or young "fintech" could lead to closing or diminishing their ability to work.

The positive

Not all are shadows around Brexit. The sum of consequences is quite negative but, interestingly, it also produces other effects that can be beneficial for those who want to go to work in the United Kingdom. For starters, the active population will have less competition when looking for work.

The flight of Europeans is the main cause. Only between July and September of this year, the number of citizens of EU member countries working in the United Kingdom fell from 2.4 million to 2.25 million, according to data from the National Statistics Office. As many Europeans are returning to their regions of origin, they have left free jobs in the UK.

This has caused a strong growth in the number of job vacancies since the result of the Brexit referendum, on June 23, 2016). From August of that year until October 2018 they have increased by 11%. And in recent months (since April), when the negotiations between the Government of Theresa May and the EU did not seem to come to fruition, the increase in vacancies has been unstoppable.

Salaries have gone through a parallel course. The reduction in the supply of labor has caused workers to appreciate more economically. The average weekly salary of an employee in the United Kingdom has gone from being 460.74 pounds in April to 462.90 last October. Of course, as Albert Coll says, "the market has not yet reacted, it is waiting". And it will react when it knows if there is agreement or not. So, if there is no agreement and British companies start to fall, maybe wages too. So we will have to wait a little over a week to find out if the United Kingdom has a certain work appeal.

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