BREXIT. A view from Romania about the UK

Posted on: 20.05.2016    07:50:54


The only thing that is certain is than on the Friday 24 June the sun will come up in the morning.

Sunrise in Romania

We will all have been bombarded by high levels of rhetoric interspersed with questionable facts from both sides but the most momentous decision in recent UK history will have been made.

So how are places in Eastern Europe viewing the BREXIT debate in the UK?

As usual the local press are misleading the public suggesting that a BREXIT vote will mean an instant draw bridge will come down with the reinstatement of visas and the possible disenfranchisement of those already here. The press are never known for confusing a great headline with facts but the reality is nothing will change on the 24th June.

For those already here their rights are protected under European law.

Should the country vote for BREXIT then changes will come but they are more likely to be in 2 years rather than 2 months as the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is not instant but has to be negotiated.

However, the man in the street reads the headlines and this is having an impact on recruitment.

For Romanian’s the UK has been the second destination of choice after

  1. Scandinavia, especially Norway as the terms and conditions are the highest. Switzerland would be seen in the same light.
  2. Then the UK, but individuals worry whether the jobs are real and the living conditions will be OK.
  3. Italy, Spain and France but these countries have relatively low demand owing to struggling economies and high domestic unemployment
  4. Middle East. There is a split here. Top end professionals with global packages are happy to work in the Middle East. However, there is well founded scepticism elsewhere particularly in hospitality and retail. The headlines would be poor pay and conditions coupled with fear of slave labour with long hours for no extra pay. Undeniably there is also a reluctance to work so far from home when there are better opportunities on peoples’ “doorstep” and without the cultural clashes and local conflicts.

Is it currently impacting on recruitment from Romania to work in the UK?

Yes, in the short term. We are working harder in explaining the rights of those already in the UK so that those that travel in the next month know they won’t be “deported” or sent home.

It is estimated that around 20% of people have decided to wait to see the outcome of the BREXIT vote before committing but this is matched by the number of UK companies that are currently sat on their hands in terms of recruitment as the UK’s economic performance inside or outside of the EU is beginning to show signs of strain.

Our advice to all Employers experiencing staff shortages is that BREXIT is a red herring and that recruitment plans need to be progressed as if the vote didn’t exist as bulk recruitment from Romania or elsewhere in the EU does take time.

Employers, with skills shortage, leaving a decision until after the 23 June will join a queue.