For over 2 years, Britain’s withdrawal from the EU has dominated the headlines, but the entire process is still very much shrouded in uncertainty and doubt. As the UK government and European Commission both start ramping up preparations for a “no-deal” Brexit, self-employed workers are naturally starting to ask some serious questions.
The Current Brexit Uncertainty
Even so close to the negotiation deadline, Brexit still lacks a clear direction; with no definitive deal in place and no clear proposal as to how Brexit is going to impact the self-employed. At a time of such uncertainty, all we really know is that freelancers and contractors should be bracing themselves for changes to VAT, tariffs, intellectual property rights, currency and freedom of movement.
However, as with all things Brexit, even the full extent of these changes (and their implications) are still completely uncertain.
Presenting New Freelance Opportunities
Businesses remain unclear as to whether the UK will remain in the single market, and this uncertainty is making them hesitant in hiring their own full-time staff. Until the full impact of Brexit becomes clearer, businesses are preferring to hire contractors and freelancers for certain projects, meaning that self-employed workers could well see an increase in work over the next few months.
However, you certainly shouldn’t expect this sudden spike in clients to last, because businesses will be quick to revert to hiring their own staff once the future of their company has become much clearer after Brexit.
Freedom of Movement
According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK is currently home to just over 5 million self-employed people, with 41% of those people classifying themselves as freelancers. These workers rely and thrive on the ability to network, connect and collaborate with people all over the world, so the prospect of any European travel restrictions will be understandably concerning.
But negotiations continue to stall, and the March 29th deadline continues to loom large, while the prospect of a hard Brexit is starting to look like a distinct possibility. If no withdrawal agreement can be made in time, then there will be no 21-month transition period and there could be some serious freedom of movement implications.
Although the full impact of Brexit still remains to be seen, it seems entirely possible that most freelancers and contractors will need to obtain a visa in order to work throughout Europe. However, this very much depends on the result of the exit negotiations, and we perhaps won’t know any more until MPs vote on Theresa May’s proposed deal on 14th January 2019.
Preparing for Brexit
While the true impact of Brexit remains unclear, freelancers should still be making sure they’re prepared for any potential consequences by getting a better handle on their finances. Our specialist accountancy services are designed to maximise your take-home pay, while our legal and financial support could prove vital in the face of such uncertain, ambiguous times.