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Re: Location Selection Expanding to UK Clients

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
691 of 737

Izzy A wrote:

Hey Vladimir,

Thanks for taking the time to reply - it is appreciated. I do understand that - my point is that I almost definitely meet all the requirements in terms of language, culture and work culture that would make a client want to hire UK freelancers only, so it's a shame (for me, personally, and perhaps other expat/migrant freelancers in a similar position; and definitely for the clients) that Upwork has introduced a filter that will appeal to those clients and therefore cut off the potential that I, or other UK freelancers living abroad, could have connected with them. I doubt very much that clients would select UK freelancers only because they want to be geographically close enough to physically meet the freelancers they hire - because if that were the case, Upwork probably wouldn't be the platform they'd use. I think it's more likely to be a familiarity with UK culture, and for my field in particular (copywriting), an appropriate and culturally engaging voice and understanding of local markets, that would motivate a client to go for the UK freelancers only option. 


_______________

Upwork doesn't care, Izzy, because apparently geo-blocking works for the company. However, I have read that the EU has brought in a law against geo-blocking, and I have written to find out if this extends to service companies such as Upwork  based in U.S. but subject to European and UK VAT regulations. 

 

 

Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
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It's been a while since you (Nichola) posted this and I too would like to hear how Upwork is exempt from the geoblocking law [Geo-blocking Regulation (EU) 2018/302 to be specific; applied from 3 Dec 2018].

 

Perhaps someone could explain?

 

 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
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LKim F wrote:

It's been a while since you (Nichola) posted this and I too would like to hear how Upwork is exempt from the geoblocking law [Geo-blocking Regulation (EU) 2018/302 to be specific; applied from 3 Dec 2018].

 

Perhaps someone could explain?


Looks as if any explanation would have to come from the relevant authorities, should anyone choose to pursue the question with them.

Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
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How is Upwork not the 'relevant authority'?

 

Either Upwork operates as they do because they're exempt from this law because of [a thing I'm not clear about in their case], they're being slow in reacting to a change of law and changes are on the cards, or what they're doing is illegal. 

 

I was assuming they knew what they were doing and some nice chap could post the sentence that will explain.

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
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I meant legal authority, as in governing/oversight body.

 

That is, since Upwork refuses to address this issue, anyone who believes they may be in violation of the law would have to file an official inquiry, report, or complaint to get an answer.

 

It is indeed a pity that Upwork stonewalls questions like this rather than having their representatives provide answers from their legal department.

Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
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Hi Nichola, Kim and Michael,

 

Sorry about the delayed response.

We are happy to shed some light on Upwork's compliance with the EU's new geoblocking regulation. Upwork does not restrict or prohibit access to the site or the site services based on an EU User's geographic location. It is up to each individual client user to determine what factors they want to consider when selecting a freelancer for their project. Depending on the nature of the work or other reasons, some clients may prefer or need to engage a freelancer from a specific jurisdiction.

~ Valeria
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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
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Thank you, Valeria, for researching and articulating Upwork's position.

I leave further discussion to those with better knowledge than mine in this area (which is to say, any at all).

 

Best,

Michael

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
698 of 737

Valeria K wrote:

Hi Nichola, Kim and Michael,

 

Sorry about the delayed response.

We are happy to shed some light on Upwork's compliance with the EU's new geoblocking regulation. Upwork does not restrict or prohibit access to the site or the site services based on an EU User's geographic location. It is up to each individual client user to determine what factors they want to consider when selecting a freelancer for their project. Depending on the nature of the work or other reasons, some clients may prefer or need to engage a freelancer from a specific jurisdiction.


_________________________________

Thank you for this Valeria, but it is a little vague. Can you confirm that  a client in UK may not prevent European freelancers or native English freelancers who live in Europe from applying for a job?

If freelancers living in Europe are prevented - that is, if they see the restriction notice as one does for US jobs - it would mean the EU law is not being respected. 

 

I would also like to point out, that despite the political chaos in UK at the moment, the country has not yet left the union. 

 

 

Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
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Nichola,

 

Thanks for the follow up. The EU geoblocking regulation applies to providers of goods and services. While users remain responsible in all cases for their own compliance, Client users are customers, not service providers, and thus do not appear to be subject to the regulation.  

~ Valeria
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Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
700 of 737

Thanks for responding, Valeria, but I’m really confused by what you say.

 

Upwork does not restrict or prohibit access to the site or the site services based on an EU User's geographic location.

 

You seem to be saying here that because you make the ability to exclude users from UK–based projects ‘optional’ then Upwork isn’t responsible for restricting access?   I’m not sure how it works when posting a UK only project. If ‘UK-only’ is the default, then users are being prompted to use geoblocking, even if they have the capability of opting out of it. 

 

The bit about preferences isn’t really relevant. But it sounds very odd to say ‘there are no restrictions’ followed by ‘this is why people like restrictions’.  

 

And what Nichola said: Does Upwork regard the UK as non-EU?

 

While users remain responsible in all cases for their own compliance

 

Completely confused by this bit. If Upwork restricts access to part of the site, how can that be the responsibility of a user? They can only provide services to the people they have access to.

 

Client users are customers, not service providers, and thus do not appear to be subject to the regulation.  

 

Does this mean: Client users are customers AND THEY ARE NOT service providers…

OR

Client users are customers AND service providers ARE NOT UPWORK’s customers…

 

In both cases, it’s Upwork’s responsibility to not use geoblocking so I don’t see how either interpretation above makes sense. Or are you trying to say that Upwork doesn’t provide a service? In which case, what on earth do you do?

 

(ETA: That last bit sounded more snarky than intended. But I can't think of a different way of asking the question, just now.)