Much has been said about the impact of Brexit on high-skilled talent for UK companies. Prominent VC Simon Calver of BGF Ventures revealed at Memery Crystal’s #thinkseries event that, alarmingly, he is witnessing job offers turned down by overseas workers until they know where the UK stands on the status of EU nationals and immigration policy.
Talent is always a major concern for business leaders from all sectors, and the lack of consensus on how Brexit will take effect and whether there will be a transitional period to ease considerable administrative burdens exacerbates this sentiment. The government is going some way, during these times of uncertainty, to calm the waters, as we can see with the decision to double Tier-1 visas for workers from outside of the EEA.
Russ Shaw of Tech London Advocates believes that “the money follows the people”, and while there is truth in this, the reality is that it’s a virtuous circle.
The UK, and London in particular, is a very strong magnet for talented and creative people. London is the acknowledged centre of the fintech universe, and the UK is a world leader in areas such as AI and life-sciences, as well as international finance of course. We boast some of the top universities in the world and London is possibly the most ethnically and culturally diverse city in the world, with a young, vibrant population.
In addition to having one of the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe, the UK also offers significant tax breaks for investors in early stage startups, and personal tax rates compare favourably with countries such as France and Germany. A UK company can be set up almost instantly, at very little cost and can all be done online. The UK remains an attractive place to obtain capital for smaller growth companies, whether that be through debt financing, off-market equity investment, crowd funding or AIM. The English legal system is regarded as cost-effective, commercially minded, transparent and predictable.
So let’s stay positive – we’re not going away anytime soon.