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Revolut Steps Up Brexit Preparations

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Fintech hotshot Revolut has written to millions of its customers to warn that new verification documents will be needed in the event of a no-deal Brexit; it has also called on the UK government to get serious about post-Brexit tech visas.

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Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky

Revolut, a rapidly growing digital bank that allows users to send, receive and spend in foreign currencies using the interbank exchange rate, is warning its customers ahead of time that they might be migrated to the company’s European subsidiary should the UK crash out of the EU without a deal—a migration process for which new identity documents will be required.

In an e-mail to customers, Revolut encouraged uploads of new proofs of identification since previously submitted driving licences will not be considered valid forms of ID by EU regulators.

“Right now, all of our customers in Europe are tied to our UK Electronic Money Licence, which we have passported across the European Economic Area,” the company wrote.

“If a no-deal outcome were to happen, we would no longer be able to passport this licence across Europe.

“Unfortunately, this EU-based licence does not recognise a driving licence as a valid form of ID.”

The passporting issue is not expected to affect users in the UK. Per Revolut’s blog, “if you’re a UK Revolut user, it’s business as usual for the most part” in the event of no-deal.

Though Revolut’s co-founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky says he remains committed to the UK in the face of Brexit, he is now calling on the UK government to introduce post-Brexit fast-tracked work visas for foreign tech talent, which Storonsky says is needed to ensure Revolut’s continued competitiveness and growth.

“Right now, there is no doubt in my mind that London is the best place to build and grow a fintech startup. However, there is a serious lack of homegrown technical talent here, which is why around 70 percent of our software engineers and data scientists are recruited from abroad,” Storonsky said in February.

Storonsky alluded to Brexit leading to “lengthy immigration processes and bureaucracy,” which he says will only “slow down the UK fintech industry’s growth” and drive the best tech talent elsewhere.

“In my mind, we need to apply pressure on the UK Government to introduce fast-track visas for technology professionals, particularly in the areas of software development and data science.”

As a means of navigating a no-deal scenario, Revolut has secured a license to act as an electronic money institution in Lithuania (an EU member country), where it has also secured a full banking license. Revolut also has an EU office in Kraków, Poland which could, if need be, act as the company’s gateway to post-Brexit Europe.


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