Brexit’s Effect on Offshore Projects

2nd August | No Comments

Brexit’s Effect on Offshore Projects graphic

As a European or British contractor working on offshore projects, you used to have a whole continent of opportunities sat before you. 

It was exciting. 

You could live in the UK, work in France, and travel between the two with ease.You could see your family regularly, and thrive from a solid and reliable income in a variety of engaging job positions. You could choose from a wide range of projects, and select the one that best suited your needs.

This has started to change.


Brexit’s effect on offshore projects

As you’ll likely know, the UK left the EU on the 31st of January, 2020. 

While offshore workers out on placement at the time were able to simply negotiate their contracts to cover the additional costs they incurred, negotiations for work have changed since.

Over the past two years, Brexit has made offshore contracting less convenient; adding new legal hurdles and making each opportunity slightly less profitable.  

4 main impacts of Brexit on offshore work

While it’s still entirely possible to live life similarly to how you used to and work overseas, it’s critical in 2022 that you remain alert to the evolving rules and regulations between the EU and the UK. 

The last thing you want to do is to make an expensive mistake that stops you from working for a while, and puts you at risk of further legal issues. 

1. Working rights

Working rights between the UK and EU have evolved. In specific cases and some project locations, you’ll now need a work permit to do offshore contracting – which can sometimes take weeks, or months, to acquire. 

Just one example where this comes into play is a contract on offshore wind farms within 12 nautical miles from mainland EU, causing problems for UK nationals. The same applies to EU workers offshoring within 12 nautical miles of the UK. 

2. Freedom of movement

Before you can book a flight and start a long-term project, you’ll need a visa for any work that requires you to stay more than 90 days over a 180-day period. Luckily, if the contract is under that timeframe, you can benefit from the EU/UK Visa-Waiver Regime (Source: ETIAS).

3. Entry requirements

According to a recent Parliament report, British citizens travelling to the EU for work or leisure must ensure that their passport is valid for “at least three months after the date the traveller intends to leave the EU country they are visiting”. It must also have been issued within the previous 10 years.

4. Delayed projects

With all these extra loopholes to jump through, it only seems natural that some offshore projects around the UK and EU might get pushed behind schedule. After all, admin needs to be completed, boxes need to be checked, and workers have to complete additional paperwork before they can be flown between one zone and the other – leading to many businesses in the sector anticipating staff shortages. On top of that, for the UK in particular which relies on the EU for some of its critical materials, the supply chain is facing additional barriers that will be a lengthy process to overcome, further putting schedules into disarray.

Exemptions to Brexit’s effects on offshore projects

However, there are some unique circumstances where the above does not need to be factored into the equation.

For example, if you’re from the UK and have met and married a partner from the EU while on a previous placement, you may be exempt from some of the regulations, or, alternatively, you might be able to apply for a permanent visa that enables you to continue working in both locations without difficulties.

Additionally, Brexit has not changed the visa and immigration requirements applicable to British citizens travelling to Ireland (and vice versa). These continue to be based on the Common Travel Area arrangements, which was established in 1923 (Source: Gov UK).

Offshore contracting post-Brexit

Although it might be tempting to “throw in the towel” and stick to local projects, there’s no reason you should have to ignore the opportunities still opening overseas if you love this line of work. 

There have been many accommodations made to continue allowing you to have a progressive offshore career, you just might find yourself doing a little more paperwork than usual. 

Before accepting any offer of employment or signing a contract, be sure to ask yourself:

  • Do I need a visa for this work?
  • Can I legally accept this contract?
  • Will I have to pay additional tax?
  • Do I need a work permit?
  • Is this position worth it?

In some cases, the benefits and the salary might be enough to convince you to still take on some work. If so, make sure you do an extensive amount of research so you can understand what is expected of you from each country and your employer. 

Be sure to read carefully through each contract, and, where possible, spend time expanding your network so you don’t have to accept a job out of necessity. It’s safer for you to be 100% sure than it is to take a risk for no reason, especially when there are likely many offshore jobs available in your area.

Offshore contracting resources

Thankfully, there’s a wide range of sources you can review before you make your decision. 

You can speak to local embassies to learn more about the working requirements between your country and the one you want to go to, or you can look through vast reports and articles available on most government sites. 

For personalised and specific advice, you can speak to Select Offshore; a specialist recruitment agency servicing thousands of candidates across the EU and the UK. 

We’re well-known for our expertise on working visas, and for making sure each contractor has everything they need to legally complete a placement.

Find offshore contracts through Select Offshore

Select Offshore delivers maritime professionals who are reliable, communicative, and enthusiastic. We adhere to tricky deadlines to secure project success through:

  1. Executive Search
  2. Contract Staffing
  3. RPO Solutions 

Our team strongly believes in celebrating each of the individuals we work with, dedicating time to find them desirable offshore placements. 

Is the next one with you? Contact us now.