Last week Britain's Parliament voted to invoke Article 50. Which means they finally did it. The Brits have started the process to leave the EU.
While the wait for the vote on Brexit is finally over, Britain's Parliamentary vote of approval is only the beginning. It is the beginning of a beginning of tense, fraught negotiations between Britain and the Mandarins in the EU to determine exactly what Brexit will look like. Which means the waiting will go on, driving an era of uncertainty in which the only (possible) certainty is the timeline of upcoming negotiations: it will take Britain 2 years (or even longer) to formally exit the EU.
But this period of uncertainty is bad news. Economies hate uncertainty. And if you're presently thinking of moving to Ireland to work and live here, Brexit - and the uncertainty which that will surely bring over the next few years - is also bad news. Or as The Donald might say: It's very, very, very bad.
The Current Negative Impact of Brexit
If you believe the newspapers, Brexit is already having something of a negative effect upon the Irish economy. The biggest losers right now are Irish exporters and the people they employ. Due to the stunning weakening of UK Sterling, Irish products cost British consumers a whole lot more - something like 15 percent more, to be precise. Which is problematic for Ireland because the UK is our largest trading customer.
To date, Ireland has suffered:
- 5.5% decline in food and animal exports
- 8.7% decline in drink and tobacco products
- 15% loss in the export of machinery goods
A Hard Border
Back in the old days, before the peace process in Ireland took hold, this country had a so-called 'Hard Border' with Northern Ireland (and hence the UK). I well remember driving from my home in Navan to work with customers in Belfast - and at the Border I would be confronted with passport control and nasty soldiers carrying large guns who wondered what I was doing up there.
With peace, the hard border disappeared. Today, anyone can drive from South to North or North to South without encountering the above nuisances. Too, the 'soft border', together with the fact that both Ireland and Britain were members of the EU meant free trade: goods and services could pass freely between the two countries without incurring any sort of tariffs.
This resulted in terrific mutual opportunities for people on both sides of the border.
But because of Brexit, all of that might change quickly.
It is possible that Britain will enact a 'hard exit' from the EU. Should this happen, we will once again see a Hard Border between the two countries. Passport controls will once again be established. Tarrifs on goods and services will be imposed. This will result in the further cooling of trade between the two countries.
Which is very bad news, not only for the people already resident on either side of the border, but for those new immigrants looking to make a home here.
The Rest of the Bad
Last month, RTE reported some stunning possibilities:
- It is possible Sterling may not recover its shining strength in the near-term. If so:
- Exports from Ireland to the UK could fall by as much as 30%
- Brexit could add €20 billion to Ireland's national debt. And...
- It could lead to 40,000 job losses within the country
The Silver Lining
Global companies currently headquartered in London or other parts of the UK may find Britain's exit from the EU strategically trying. For that reason, many are already looking to move to EU countries to maintain a European presence. The reason? They too are worried about tariffs, taxes, and other legal and trading consequences as Britain re-negotiates its relationship with Europe.
Ireland already looks to be a beneficiary of this change. There's been a surge of interest in Ireland, particularly within Dublin's docklands - based Financial Services Centre. British-based financial services and insurance companies are keenly eyeing the strategic value of such a move.
If this happens, Ireland could experience huge demand for lawyers, managers, analysts, and administrators with financial services experience.
So What to Do?
As I've long suggested: if you're looking to move to Ireland, NOW IS THE TIME. But tread carefully and go in with your eyes wide open.
Ireland has an open economy - which means things here can change on a dime. If the temperature caused by Brexit turns from cool to cold, it could spell disaster for Ireland's economy.
Are You Qualified to Live and Work in Ireland?
To find out, go to http://survivingireland.blogspot.ie/2016/11/getting-job-and-living-in-ireland-trump.html. See end of article.
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