Brexit transition: New rules for businesses from 01 January 2021

We're now less than 30 days from the UK leaving the EU on 31 December 2020. The UK has been focused on tackling the coronavirus pandemic and therefore preparing for Brexit has taken a backseat. The deadline still remains and businesses must give this area some focus before it's too late.

If you're unsure on exactly what your businesses needs to do to prepare, the government website has a dedicated area for Brexit.

Top tips to be Brexit ready by January

To help with planning, we have also put together our top tips for helping businesses to get ready for 01 January 2021:

1. Get your professional qualifications recognised by EU regulators by 31 December 2020 to be able to practice or service clients in the EU

Once the UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end, if you have a registered business providing services in the UK, you can offer those services in another EU country without setting up a company or branch there. This can be useful if you want to:

  • provide the service there only temporarily

  • provide the service just to a specific client living there

  • test the market before expanding your company

If you choose to set up a branch or register your company in another EU country, you will need to adhere to national rules for setting up the business including: recognition of your professional qualifications and applying for the necessary permits

UK professional qualifications will need to be officially recognised in order to work in a profession that is regulated in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, such as accountancy, law, engineering etc. The qualification will need to be recognised by the appropriate regulator for that profession.

2. Check if a visa or work permit is required to travel to the EU for work purposes

  • Check what Employment Visas the work destination country offers.

  • Meet the criteria for an EU work visa

  • Collect the required documents for an employment visa.

  • Schedule a visa interview.

You can check visa and work permit requirements here.

3. Data Protection and Data Transfers

From 01 January 2021 there will be two sets of rules to consider when transferring data in and out of the UK:

  • First, the UK rules on transferring data outwards from the UK.

  • Second, the impact of EU transfer rules on those sending you personal data from outside the UK (including from the EEA) into the UK.

In both cases, personal data may be transferred if it is covered by an adequacy decision, an appropriate safeguard or an exception.

4. Recruiting from overseas

In most cases, Employers recruiting individuals from outside the UK from 1 January 2021, will need to hold a sponsor license. The UK is introducing an immigration system which will treat all applicants equally, regardless of where they come from.

Anyone an employer wishes to recruit from outside the UK, (excluding Irish citizens), will need to first apply for permission.

EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and their family members have until 30 June 2021 to apply for settlement status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Skilled workers

From 1 January 2021, anyone recruited from outside the UK under the Skilled Worker route will need to demonstrate that:

  • They have a job offer from an employer who holds a sponsor license.

  • They speak English at the required level

  • The job offer is at the required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level)

  • They’ll be earning at least £25,600 or the market rate for the job they are being offered, whichever is higher.

If the applicant is being offered less than this - but no less than £20,480 – they may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against their salary.

You can read more about this in our blog post "New Immigration System - What you need to know."

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