Overseas contracting in 2017: where it's hot

Seismic political and economic shifts across the globe in 2016 unsurprisingly led to changes in the contracting landscape.

While some countries have started to lose their appeal for UK contractors due to increasing uncertainty and heavy bureaucracy, others have emerged with promising lucrative opportunities.

Here, I map out at some of the top contracting hotspots in the world in 2017, writes Helene Truffa, senior business executive at overseas contracting and tax advisory Capital GES.

Starting in the Eurozone, Poland remains a key country for contractors following increased efforts from its government and top organisations to win over London businesses following the Brexit decision last year. These efforts are starting to pay off with approximately 200,000 people already working in offshore operation centres in Poland.

The country’s deputy prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, predicts the country will attract up to 30,000 jobs from Britain's financial sector alone in 2017, which brings with it ample opportunities for IT and technology contractors operating in the financial sector. Couple this with Poland’s relatively low flat rate of tax and capped social security payments and we predict its popularity with UK contractors will continue to rise.

Switzerland’s healthy economy and constant need for highly skilled personnel, particularly in the pharmaceutical, banking and IT industries means it continues to be a key destination for UK contractors. However, 2016 saw continued question marks for the future of foreign contractors due to the ongoing issue of the country’s stance on immigration.

In December, the Swiss Parliament finally approved a law to resolve the crisis caused by the referendum to limit immigration from the EU. This resolution has been widely welcomed by the business community in Switzerland which has been worried about the potential impact of the referendum on their extensive use of foreign specialists. This ruling coupled with Brexit, which brings its own questions over the certainty of the UK’s commitment to freedom of movement, means both UK contractors and Swiss businesses are likely to continue to exploit this mutually beneficial relationship in 2017, while they still can.

One of the world's most well-functioning and stable countries, Norway has always appealed to contractors thanks to it possessing one of the world's highest standards of living. Up until 2014, it was a location for predominantly Oil & Gas specialists, however the oil price crash in 2014 has had a dramatic effect on this. The country has been open about trying to restructure its economy away from oil dependency, which then opens up a number of doors for UK contractors possessing the necessary skills that Norway needs to make a name for itself in other sectors.

Moving further afield Brazil has for some time now been unofficially named the new land of opportunity thanks to a number of thriving sectors including banking and manufacturing. In spite of the ongoing Petrobras scandal, Brazil is still viewed as an emerging world power and such growth has exposed a huge skills gap within its own country that cannot be solved in the short term without the need for high-skilled foreign contractors. In particular, cybersecurity contractors are well advised to look at Brazil in 2017, with a recent report from Indeed.com stating that skills gaps in this area have increased in the country considerably between 2014 and 2016.

Brazil isn’t the only country in Latin America that’s set to attract more contractors in 2017: significant investment from China to establish super ports along Chile’s vast coastline is paving the way for Australasian imports and exports, meaning the country is on the cusp of becoming a major destination for foreign trade and large international investments.

As well as this, Chile’s capital Santiago has rapidly established itself as hub for start-up technology businesses following a government incentive programme providing funding and a year’s visa to start-ups to come and work on their ideas in Chile. The scheme is actively targeting foreign talent and means the area that’s been dubbed ‘Chilecon Valley’ will provide an abundance of tech and digital businesses looking for top contracting talent to join them.

The tide is a changing

Where we were used to seeing UK contractors work predominantly in other European countries, 2016 saw more expanding their services outside of the Eurozone to emerging countries offering lucrative opportunities and this trend looks to continue this year.

Friday 3rd Feb 2017
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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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