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It’s been almost two months since Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50, and both job seekers and recruiters are trying to understand the consequences. Unlimited European Union (EU) immigration, under the current freedom of movement rules, could change once the UK officially leaves the EU. This uncertainty calls for companies to be much more flexible with both their current and prospective employees.  

Currently, London is home to the largest developer community in Europe. There are as many as 2.1 million EU immigrants working in the UK, many of them helping to fill gaps in engineering and IT. So it’s easy to see why it’s important for business that we keep the community thriving.

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If you’re concerned about the impact of Brexit on your tech team and talent pipeline, here are a few steps you can take as an employer to not only keep your current developer workforce happy and employed, but also encourage candidates to apply to your open jobs.

Implement Remote Work Options

Working professionals from the EU will likely do one of two things: stay in their current job because they are worried about their future security , or begin moving very quickly before any permanent changes are made. Implementing remote work options at your current company can help fix both of these problems.

Luckily, much of the work that developers do can be completed remotely or virtually – especially compared to other roles that require in-person meetings and interactions. And when you’re hiring employees from anywhere in the world, you’re getting the best talent out there – not the talent that happens to live in your back garden. It doesn’t hurt that  developers in the UK are interested in working remotely -- 54.6% of developers we surveyed said they valued remote work options as part of a company’s compensation and benefits package.

A number of UK-based companies are already offering remote work to their developers, such as ThoughtWorks, KCOM, The Scale Factory, PurePoint, and more.

Offer Visa Sponsorship or Relocation

Companies often rely on foreign talent from the EU (and the rest of the world) to fill their technical roles. Currently, citizens of one country in the EU can work and live in other countries within the region. But if the immigration rules change, this could result in companies in both regions losing access to some workers. It is possible that some existing workers may even be forced to leave their current jobs. If the UK Government introduces visas for European citizens, a shortage of technical talent could be one of the many results.

The bottom line is that if you aren’t relocating employees or offering them visa sponsorship, someone else will.

A number of UK-based companies are already offering Visa sponsorship (such as Zopa and Accenture Technology), or relocation packages (such as Roku Europe, Dyson, and Skimlinks) to developer candidates. See a full list of employers offering the option to Live & Work Anywhere here.

Being open to remote work, visa sponsorship, and relocation will put your company in a stronger position if freedom of movement within the EU is restricted.

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