Architect says staff taking matters into their own hands in order to keep working here

The architecture practice of Richard Rogers has said that more and more of its EU staff are looking to get British citizenship in order to head off the threat of being thrown out of the country because of Brexit.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March next year but the firm behind the Cheesegrater tower in the City of London has said the “ongoing lack of clarity” over Brexit has meant its EU employees are taking matters into their own hands – rather than relying on government assurances they won’t be kicked out.

In a note accompanying its latest report and accounts, Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, which has more than 200 employees on its books, said: “A significant portion of our non-UK staff [is] seeking to naturalise and obtain UK passports where possible.”

The firm, which has 30 different nationalities on its books and works in 16 different countries, added that Brexit would limit its ability to attract talent from overseas as well as compete for public projects in the EU.

It carries out nearly 15% of its work in Europe and added: “We are worried about how Brexit will affect not only our own recruitment and retention of the best architectural talent from across the Euro zone but also how it will affect the UK architecture industry as a whole. We are also concerned about the likelihood of UK architects being able to compete for EU public building commissions in a post Brexit world.”

RSHP, which is working on the extension to the British Library in St Pancras and is the architect behind Canada’s planned tallest tower, a 270m scheme in Toronto called Bay Street, saw pre-tax profit and income jump in the year to June 2017.

Pre-tax profit went up 10% to £7.6m while turnover during the period edged up £600,000 to £32.8m.

It said turnover in its current financial year, which closes at the end of this month, would fall with the firm blaming the slump on the stuttering UK market.

RSHP carries out just over 40% of its work in the UK, with other ongoing schemes including a revamp of South Kensington tube station, with the remainder from overseas. The firm’s 80-storey tower at New York’s 3 World Trade Center (pictured below) completed this month.

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The opening of RSHP’s scheme at 3 World Trade Center was attended by practice founder Richard Rogers