How Brexit Could Affect Digital Nomads Traveling to the UK

Many people choose to become digital nomads because they are allowed the freedom to work remotely by their employers. Recent international events have made it more difficult for digital nomads to travel as freely as they once did. The USA has been one of the more difficult travel destinations and that has only become more problematic in the last year.

It isn’t just physical entry that’s stopping digital nomads from traveling from one place to another. Now, they also have to worry about economic events that affect currencies negatively. In the case of digital nomads in the UK, it’s the unpredictability of the sterling that makes living in the country or on their travels more expensive.

The recent decline of the sterling is fueled by the UK’s decision last June to leave the European Union. When the result was announced, FXCM reported that the impact was almost instantaneous. On June 24, just a day after the Brexit vote happened, the sterling plummeted by almost 9% against the dollar. In an attempt to provide some sort of stability, the Bank of England pledged £250 billion ($338 billion) to be used to preserve the sterling. While the sterling has steadied, it is still far from its pre-referendum value. The good news for digital nomads traveling to the UK is that they will get more for their money when buying goods.

photo of London skyline with a cloudy sky

Tower bridge over the Thames in London by Félix Martín Sánchez

The UK will potentially be giving up a lot of its benefits after deciding to exit the European Union. For one, Brexit would mean giving up the rights to participate in the EU Single Market, which allows all merchants in member countries to freely trade with one another. If the UK is not able to negotiate a free trade deal that would ease the cost of imports from other countries, UK-based merchants will have to increase prices, increasing the cost of living in the UK for everyone, including digital nomads.

Brexit would also have an impact on the travel itineraries of digital nomads going into the UK. The Evening Standard claims that pan-European airlines that take advantage of the open skies arrangement will most probably be affected.

Even visiting the country could be affected. Digital nomads visiting the UK could be asked for additional travel documents that weren’t needed before. This could lead to a huge loss of talent and creativity. Once the UK leaves the EU, workers rights will change for Europeans in the UK, and UK citizens in Europe. The right to work without visa will likely be a big casualty of the referendum. While the internet is borderless, not being able to freely travel could have a big effect on the work available to digital nomads.

Brexit is going to change many industries in the UK, and digital nomads will hope that the effects of the changes won’t be too severe. If they are both the country and digital nomads will lose out.