As the March 2019 deadline approaches, there is definitely an air of uncertainty surrounding the whole Brexit process. What shape will it take? Will it even happen? Not to mention that the process of leaving has never been executed by an economy as large and as heavily integrated into the EU before. The irony that the leaving process was written by a Brit has not been lost in the UK! Beyond the media hysteria and emotions running high on both sides, the complexity of leaving the EU cannot be dismissed. In the next few paragraphs, we will cover what we at Goodwille have been doing behind the scenes, why we believe now is an important time to update clients and what you can expect from Goodwille in the coming months.
What have we been doing?
Since the result of the referendum back in 2016, we have been acutely aware of the possible disruption Brexit would have for our clients. As such, we have been monitoring the progress very closely for any clues, convening a Brexit committee regularly to discuss updates on how this might affect not only our clients’ businesses, but also their staff, who most likely have an EU contingent. On top of this, being a much more difficult task, we have been trying to weigh up the risks of leaving abruptly in March 2019 versus allocating resources to cater for a number of different worst-case scenarios. Key to this has been our insistence on maintaining a cool head, evading media sensationalism and observing the scene from the position of both parties. This has been made possible by our multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team.
At the time of writing, there is still very little clarity on what form Brexit might take (options as we see them are listed below). However, the possibility of a No-Deal looms ever larger on the horizon and the team at Goodwille believes in the next coming weeks, action will need to be taken as the risk becomes acutely greater.
Between the Special EU Summit on the 17th/18th November, where Theresa May will be hoping to return with a deal, and the Government stating that it will need to formally start executing their No-Deal strategy in the middle of November, we believe that we are at a critical point in the negotiations. Subsequently, Goodwille will advise our clients to start planning and executing contingencies for a No-Deal exit.
What can you expect from Goodwille
Firstly, you can expect another update from Goodwille after the Special EU Summit to let you know how the negotiations have developed, but also more detail on how to plan for the months ahead.
Secondly, as we have been considering and following developments concerning the human factor with utmost interest, we will be providing guidance for employers and employees, in conjunction with our immigration experts, on how to ensure EU nationals and their families can remain in the UK after Brexit.
Thirdly, should a No-Deal outcome become more likely, we will be supporting any clients that require our help to get their businesses ready for this contingency. This will be achieved by leveraging our network of experts and recognising that a lot of our clients are in the same position. This allows Goodwille to provide cost effective solutions and pooled resources, from which we can offer more unique solutions catering to individual clients.
Finally, Goodwille will be providing regular updates as we approach March 2019.
We have also listed a few other points that might be of interest below:
What are the Brexit options facing the UK/EU*?
Politically, it is deemed impossible by the ruling party in the UK not to implement Brexit, and therefore questions have arisen which ask what kind of Brexit will occur. An answer would fall broadly into below two categories:
- A Withdrawal Agreement with a commitment to a Customs Union or Free Trade Agreement, or
- A No-Deal Scenario on EEA/EFTA or WTO terms.
One could argue that there are several third options here; a delay, particularly in a No-Deal scenario, but politically this is mired with complexity and lack of clarity in how this could be achieved. However, this is countered by the fact that neither side wants/needs/can afford a No-Deal fall out of the European Union by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
*It is important to note that this is a simplified overview of the possible outcomes to clarify the perceived best-case and worst-case scenarios.
What can clients do in the meantime?
We imagine a lot of you will have given this a lot of thought and some of the larger clients will no doubt have already executed some contingencies. At this point, we believe clients need to sit tight and await the middle of November. Should clients have the spare resources or the urge to act, then we suggest doing a risk assessment on key parts of your business that might be affected by a No-Deal scenario. This will then form the basis of where to focus efforts, should the worst come to happen. The UK Government has also released guidance online to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal; Gov UK Link here and a useful diagram from the Institute for Government can be found here.
We will continue to monitor the progress of the Brexit discussions, and will regularly send out updates via email and update our website with any recent news. Subscribe to our Brexit Newsletter to receive our updates directly to your inbox, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how Brexit will impact your business.