LONDON (Reuters) - Amazon (AMZN.O) has had no problem hiring staff in Britain and plans an extra 450 high tech jobs, its UK boss said, despite the uncertain status of non-British European Union nationals.
Doug Gurr, Amazon’s UK Country Manager, said the company was pleased that both the British government and the EU have prioritized an early agreement on the position of non-UK EU citizens in Britain and UK citizens in Europe during the Brexit negotiations.
“As of today we’re continuing to see lots and lots of applications for every role we put out there,” Gurr said at an event on Monday to mark the opening of Amazon’s new head office in Shoreditch, central London.
British Prime Minister Theresa May sought to ease concerns over Brexit last week, saying she wanted a “smooth, orderly exit” from the EU, including a period of implementation to help companies make investment decisions.
Gurr declined to say if he thought the government could deliver this, but indicated he was relaxed whatever the outcome.
“I think you’ll find we will adapt. ..to whatever framework we end up with,” he said.
Amazon said it was taking all 15 storeys and 600,000 square feet of the new building in Shoreditch - more than the 11 storeys and 431,000 sq ft of space it said it would take in 2014, allowing it to double the capacity of its London research and development center from 450 to 900 technical employees.
The 450 new high tech jobs are in addition to the 5,000 full time UK jobs Amazon has pledged to create this year that would take its British workforce to 24,000 permanent employees, from more than 22,000 at present.
“What that will mean in terms of Amazon’s commitment to investment in the UK (is) that in the two years from Jan. 1 2016 to Dec. 31 this year we will have doubled...our number of full time employees in the UK,” said Gurr, noting the firm has invested 6.4 billion pounds ($8.3 billion) in the UK since 2010.
Jay Marine, vice president of Amazon Video Europe, declined to comment at the dinner event when asked if the firm had plans to operate a live TV channel or bid for sports rights.
Reporting by James Davey; editing by Alexander Smith