Brexit for Freelancers

Brexit for Freelancers

If you, like me, are a UK citizen then the past week or so has been very interesting. You know, in the manner of the old curse; may you live in interesting times. I voted to remain and that put me in the (slight) minority. If you are a UK freelancer / remote worker who likes to travel then this has been a nerve wracking time. Here are a few of my thoughts on Brexit for freelancers.

Travel

For me, the number one issue is what will happen to my ability to travel. At the moment a British passport is amazing, it gets you in pretty much anywhere with limited hassle. On top of that is the right to move and live freely within the EU. Agi and I recently left Thailand and decided to try Europe for a while. Great timing!

What does the future look like? At the moment no one knows, which is a real bummer. In all likelihood nothing will change for the next 2 years at least. After that? I honestly don’t believe British citizens will suddenly need visas to enter Europe. I expect we will retain the right to free movement and probably free residence.

 

Enjoying Our Right to Travel
Agi and I enjoying our right to travel in Italy

 

If you can, now is a great time to get an Irish passport. Ireland is staying in the EU for sure so if you want to stay then that’s a good option for you. My family are Irish but several generations back so it’s not an option for me 🙁 My mum is Scottish though so maybe Scotland can withdraw from the UK, rejoin the EU and offer Scottish passports. It’s possible!

(Actually, Agi and I are getting married next year so I’m hoping I can ride the coattails of her Polish passport as a spouse.)

Money

Since the announcement of the referendum result the UK pound dropped to a 7 year low. Now, if you get paid in US dollars (which most Upwork users do) and live in the UK this is actually great news. Suddenly your dollars get you a lot more pounds, hooray!

 

GBP vs USD
How much is a British pound worth (from XE.com)

 

If you live elsewhere and still use a UK bank account then now is a great time to get a bank account wherever you are. This is good advice anyway because withdrawing money from a UK bank account overseas incurs charges. It becomes especially good advice now as your pounds are worth so much less. Get a Polish, Argentinian, Thai or whatever bank account and transfer your money from Upwork, Paypal, wherever directly into it.

If you’re constantly travelling then there’s not a lot you can do. I know, I have travelled extensively and I wept when I looked at the ATM charges afterwards.

In the long run the pound will probably bounce back but it is worth it to take some action now.

Just a few thoughts on the situation for UK freelancers. Do you have any tips? Please let me know.

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