EU Single Market laws that make it easy for London startups to establish, operate and hire will no longer be there after Brexit. I explained to the Shoreditch community how Brexit affects startups.
Last week I was given a great opportunity to speak to Shoreditch startups community about legal implications of Brexit for startups. Together with the inspiring host Araceli Camargo of TheCube and brilliant Natalie Nzeyimana of Nuanced, who introduced us to the business strategy opportunities of Brexit, I explained, based on limited information available today, how Brexit affects startups from the legal point of view.
I have collected a couple of take-home messages from our startups Brexit discussion in this article.
Can EU citizens continue to run businesses in the UK post Brexit?
For now, yes. However, after two years or a longer period agreed between the UK and the EU politicians, it will all depend on the Brexit terms negotiated between the UK and the EU politicians. Whereas the current UK government is generally pro-business, it is also rather hostile towards immigrants, so it is hard to say. However, even if tougher conditions are agreed for future startups establishment by the EU citizens in the UK, startups already established and their owners might enjoy a more favourable treatment.
Will UK startups continue to be able to employ EU citizens post Brexit?
For now, yes. However, after two years or a longer period agreed between the UK and the EU politicians, EU citizens are likely to have a more limited access to the UK job market. A points-based or similar visa system would generally be a nightmare for any small business including a startup but it is too early to despair: regardless of the present UK government intentions, no country has ever negotiated access to the EU Single Market without allowing for free movement of workers.
Will our intellectual property continue to be safe post Brexit?
Generally yes. Whereas some mechanisms such as European Union Trade Mark (previously Community Trade Mark) currently make it much easier to manage intellectual property (IP) in the EU, the UK citizens would continue to enjoy national treatment with respect of their IP rights in EU Member States. Whereas the EU has been providing for IP rights harmonisation in the Single Market, the basic principle of non-discrimination say for foreign nationals’ software copyrights would continue to apply based on the rather ancient 1886 Berne Copyright Convention.
Will I still be able to exchange data with developers or partners in EU Member States?
For now there is still free flow of personal information between the UK and the rest of the EU. However, after two years or a longer period agreed between the UK and the EU politicians, different scenarios might apply. The UK is likely to get on the EU list of countries where its nationals’ personal data is considered safe, which would enable free flow of such data.