Brexit is a career-killer for freelancers, argues reader Jayne Hamilton.
I read your article on freelance musician Anneke Scott with sadness as I know exactly how she feels. If current negotiations are anything to go by, I will lose two-thirds of my livelihood at the very least because of Brexit.
While companies export products, we freelancers export ourselves. The freedom of movement and work in the single market is vital for us.
I am an experienced software developer with fluency in several languages. It has taken me over 12 years to build up my network and clients. Many of them are in Germany and the Netherlands. My languages in addition to technical skills often secure me a contract and allow me to fend off tough competition. For example, a trading system I developed for Deutsche Bank which required programming, banking experience and Portuguese language skills.
Unlike application processes for permanent jobs, the customers and agencies usually need freelance candidates fast, sometimes within days. It would be impossible for us to wait for work permit applications to be processed. Work permits would involve extra costs. Candidates who cannot offer a fast start date face rejection, even when their experience is a perfect match, unless the project has the luxury of waiting for a candidate to become available. Remote work is not always possible and some clients require you to be present in the office at least four days per week. Secure sites in banking or defense often restrict contractors to office-based positions.
Some alarming restrictions are now being placed in adverts for freelance contractors, including the requirement on a project to hold a passport from a Schengen country. British citizens are already blocked from applying to some projects.
The great irony is that British freelancers often gain niche skills on projects in the EU which they can deploy on projects back home when they arise. Many UK projects also depend on the skills of EU freelance specialists, including government projects.
When I migrated to Europe from California, I settled upon London as a base to pursue my career as a classical clarinetist. I became a citizen and subject of the UK. I also became a citizen of the EU. This enabled me to live and work in all of the important musical nations of Europe as well as the UK.
This was invaluable because, as everyone knows, musicians are perpetually and eternally standing at the very ledge of the destitute cliff-edge.
I travelled, auditioned for orchestras, studied with all the greatest musicians alive at the time and lived and worked all over the European shop.
Brexit will put an end to all of that. The Brexit catastrophe will end musical life for Britons in the EU. Music will survive in some crude way, of course; it always does. Quality music is another story.
MU, ISM, Clarinet Heritage Society
I hope The New European will point out that Beatrix von Storch of Germany’s AfD party is likely to face incitement to hatred charges after saying that police in Cologne were ‘placating barbaric, Muslim, gang-raping hordes of men’ because they dared to tweet out a New Year’s message in Arabic.
This is a woman recently described by Nigel Farage as ‘a really good person… an honourable person committed to change.’
By your friends shall ye be judged, and all that…
Barbara Stephen, Chester
It is absolutely disgraceful that Leave campaign donors Arron Banks, Peter Cruddas and Stuart Wheeler should be asked to pay 20% inheritance tax on their donations.
It should have been lots more.