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- UK Transition
The UK has left the European Union and new rules for business with the EU started on 1 January 2021.
Oxfordshire businesses must act now in-light of the changes. There are actions your business should take now to ensure you are in the best position to operate in a post-transition economy.
As part of a EU transition business-readiness support programme funded by the Department for BEIS, we held three webinars in February and March 2021. They featured experienced advisers, helping businesses prepare for Brexit.
Recordings of these webinars are available for you to view below:
'UK transition webinar: Value Added Tax (VAT) in the post-EU landscape' (16 March 2021)
'UK transition webinar: Routes to market - how to navigate in the post-EU landscape' (16 March 2021)
'UK transition webinar: Keep your business moving - what Oxfordshire SMEs need to know about the EU exit' (2 February 2021)
The service was funded by BEIS and provided on behalf of OxLEP Business by Newable Ltd and Chord.
Signposting you to the right Government support:
In addition to our own support, we also encourage Oxfordshire businesses to visit the Government website and, in particular, their 'Brexit checker' tool to ensure you are best-prepared for operating your business following the UK's departure from the European Union.
Other information and points for your business to consider:
What actions should your business take?
Your business will have to make a number of changes to ensure continued flow of people, data, goods and services between the UK and the EU.
These actions are required for Oxfordshire businesses:
- If you sell goods to the EU you must prepare for new customs procedures
- If you travel to the EU for work purposes you will need to check if you need a visa or work permit and apply if necessary
- If you employ overseas nationals you will need to prepare your business for the implementation of the new immigration system
- If you are a UK business or organisation that receives personal data from contacts in the EEA, you may need to take extra steps to ensure that the data can continue to flow legally at the end of the transition period
- If you provide services in the EU, you must ensure that your qualifications are now recognised by EU regulations to be able to practice or service clients in the EU
What does the UK's departure specifically mean to your business?
Complete this Government tool to gain an understanding of the specific actions you need to take based on your business' operations and also your personal circumstances.
Detailed information on key actions:
Outlined below are a number of specific areas that Oxfordshire businesses need to review to ensure they can continue to operate following the UK transition.
The process for importing goods from the EU will change. Oxfordshire businesses will need to complete the following actions to continue importing from EU countries from 1 January 2021.
1. Check if you should follow this step by step:
You should follow different guidance if you're:
2. Find out how to declare goods from 1 January 2021:
From 1 January 2021, you'll need to make customs declarations when you import goods from the EU. These rules currently apply to importing goods from the rest of the world, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
You can make the declarations yourself, but most businesses use a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent.
And, check the new rules for your type of goods:
From 1 January 2021, the rules for importing some types of goods will change.
- Check what import licences or certificates you need
- Check the marking, labelling and marketing standards for food, plant seeds and manufactured goods
- Check the rules for importing alcohol, tobacco and certain oils
3. Make sure you have an EORI number starting with 'GB':
You need an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods from 1 January 2021.
4. Check the rate of tax and duty you’ll need to pay:
You need to pay customs duties and VAT on all imports.
5. Check if you can make the importing process quicker:
From 1 January 2021, you'll need to make customs declarations when you import goods from the EU. In some situations, you can delay making a declaration for up to 6 months after you imported the goods.
The process for exporting goods to the European Union will change. Oxfordshire businesses will need to complete the following actions to continue exporting to EU countries from 1 January 2021.
1. Check if you should follow this step by step:
You should follow different guidance if you're:
From 1 January 2021, you can charge customers VAT at 0% (known as 'zero rate') on most goods you export to the EU.
5. Check if the EU business you're exporting to is ready:
The EU business importing your goods will also need to prepare for 1 January 2021.
Before sending the business your goods, check they can make the necessary import customs declarations. They'll also need a licence or certificate to import some types of goods.
If you are thinking of hiring from the EU as of next year, you need to be aware that the way you hire will change.
Free movement is ending and the new points-based immigration system will introduce job, salary and language requirements that will change the way you hire from the EU. The new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally.
Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 1 January 2021.
Things you may need to do before you go include:
- Check your passport
- Get travel insurance that covers your healthcare
- Check you have the right driving documents
- Organise pet travel. Contact your vet at least four months before you go
There are more things to do if you’re travelling for business. For example, going to meetings and conferences, providing services (even with a charity), and touring art or music.
Passports: Check if you need to renew
You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.
On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:
- Have at least six months left
- Be less than 10 years old (even if it has six months or more left)
If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
You can check whether your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting.
These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.
Healthcare: Check you’re covered
You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020.
It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.
You can read advice on buying travel insurance with the right cover.
Entering other countries
Border control - you may have to show your return ticket and money:
At border control, you may need to:
- Show a return or onward ticket
- Show you have enough money for your stay
- Use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
Visas for short trips - you will not need one if you’re a tourist:
If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.
You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel.
Check each country’s travel advice page for information on how to get a visa or permit.
Travel to Ireland will not change from 1 January 2021. You’ll also be able to work in Ireland in the same way as before.
There may be changes from 1 January 2021. What these are depend on how you’re travelling. However you travel, check before you leave for any delays or disruption.
You may need extra documents from 1 January 2021. You might need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries. If you’re taking your own vehicle, you will also need a ‘green card’ and a GB sticker.
Compensation if your travel is disrupted
Some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider’s terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed.
Your consumer rights will not change from 1 January 2021. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking’s terms and conditions to find out more.
Pet travel: Allow at least four months to arrange
From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead you’ll need to follow a different process, which takes four months.
Follow the guidance about pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021.
Mobile roaming: Free roaming may end
From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end. Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021.
A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing. Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.
If your travel company goes out of business
You’re protected if you buy a package holiday and the company goes out of business. You get this cover even if it’s an EU company, as long as the company targets UK customers.
Otherwise, you can claim compensation if you used your credit card. You’ll continue to be able to claim for payments between £100 and £30,000.
Other changes from 1 January 2021
If you’re a business:
- You may need to make a customs declaration if you take goods with you to sell abroad or use for business
- Find out what else you need to do to prepare your business during the transition period
There’s different guidance if you’re:
Check if you - or those you employ - need to apply to the settlement scheme if people are from the EU, or from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
Citizens from these areas will usually need to apply to continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020.
Find out what measures you need to take if you wish to continue to live in the European Union.
Depending on your nationality, your ability to live in the European Union may change.
Away from specific steps that you should take ahead of the UK transition, businesses can also take action to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.
We would encourage business leaders to therefore visit this Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG) resource. BERG is an influential network of UK business leaders and strategic partners that include national charities and UK government departments.
Further Government business support:
SME Brexit Support Fund:
The SME Brexit Support Fund could give you up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice, if your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover.
To support business to adapt to the changes, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are hosting free 'Check, Change Go' webinars to help you check the new rules and understand the actions to take.
How to export goods from the UK: check how to export goods:
Local authority support:
Our local authority partners across Oxfordshire are also directing businesses to further support resources. Please visit your respective local authority website for more information: