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Julia Onslow-Cole - grappling with Brexit

As PwC’s Head of Global Immigration, Julia has been busy advising our clients and wider business since the EU referendum. She sits on London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Brexit Advisory Group and travels widely to talk to international governments about immigration issues.

Julia discusses the opportunities that Brexit presents including being able to revisit the existing immigration system and put in place legislation which is more fit-for-purpose. She also talks about the future of work and how business is grappling with issues like artificial intelligence, the gig economy, virtual working and robotics.

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Julia Onslow-Cole - grappling with Brexit

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I’m Julia Onslow-Cole, I’m Head of Global Immigration for PwC.

You can imagine that I’ve been really busy on the Brexit impacts for our clients since the referendum. I was appointed by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to sit on his Brexit advisory group, and PwC have their own expert advisory group on Brexit which I sit on to particularly covering immigration matters. And I have been traveling a lot, not only liaising with our UK government but also talking to governments overseas about the impacts not just of Brexit, but the sort of global trends of tightening immigration.

There are opportunities with Brexit, and I think it’s important that we do remember that because sometimes it seems that there are so many problems and one gets overwhelmed with the problem. But the basic point is that we now have the opportunity to revisit our whole immigration system.

And there is a lot that we could improve on with our current system, and so I’m really encouraging our clients in business to actually think of those things that are really quite irritating with the system and ways to improve that. And it could be that, in certain areas, there will be a better experience and a better set of policies that are much more fit for purpose for what clients actually need today.

Now is a very important time for business because the Migration Advisory Committee have just issued a major consultation and they’re asking business ‘what are your migration needs for the future,’ and we’ve really been encouraging all of our clients to respond to this. And we’re hosting many different sector round tables with the Migration Advisory Committee and we’re really encouraging business to think not just about immigration needs but about the future of work.

And PwC have just produced an iconic report on Future of Work. And it’s very interesting, when I travel around the world, to see how this issue of the future of work, which includes immigration, but also includes things like robotics, AI, virtual working, the gig economy, all of these major issues which companies have to grapple with, is on everybody’s top list of problems to solve and opportunities.

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