We have put together answers to the most common questions our customers and stakeholders have asked about Brexit. This section outlines how you can prepare for Brexit against four key business areas most likely to be impacted: strategic sourcing; logistics and transport; customs, tariffs and taxation; people and immigration.
We also have two more sections detailing guidance on:
- Brexit impact covering: high-level information and timelines about the Brexit process, and key areas your business should focus on in relation to preparing for Brexit.
- Business sectors covering: agri-food; manufacturing; financial and professional services; technology; leisure and tourism; and life and health sciences.
These are subject to change and will be updated as more information and clarity about Brexit becomes available, so do check back from time to time.
Strategic sourcing is a systematic process that connects the spend profile and purchasing activity of your business with the availability and capacity of your supplier base, and supply chain. It will help you drive continuous improvement through efficiencies in your procurement cycle, from specification through to receipt and payment of goods and services.
Strategic sourcing starts with detailed analysis of your internal operations, income and expenditure, supplier information, and market and competitor insights. You can use this data to identify and develop long-term partnerships with strategic suppliers that can provide quality products and services, at a competitive price, to meet your business ambition.
Review your sourcing strategies and supplier base at least once a year in order to determine where the most impact and value has been achieved, lessons learnt, and where to focus your efforts in the forthcoming months. By developing relevant sourcing strategies, you can reduce costs, mitigate risk, guarantee supply and improve quality and delivery terms, resulting in increased profitability.
With the UK due to exit the European Union (EU) on 31 October 2019, many supply chains could be disrupted with potential increases to import tariffs, logistical delays, diverging regulatory standards between the EU and jurisdictions outside the EU, and higher administration costs.
Reducing risk will help you to prepare for the challenges arising from Brexit by building resilience across your supplier base, and supply chain. Given the rapidly changing economic and political environment, strategic sourcing gives you the tools and techniques to review current and future supplier contractual rights and obligations, consider actions to mitigate costs and supply chain risks or identify new opportunities, and prioritise cost controlling measures.
Brexit will disrupt the supply chains of some sectors more than others.
First, it is important you undertake a detailed cost analysis for your EU suppliers, on a case by case basis. In some sectors, operating costs may increase, while the loss of zero VAT rating will negatively affect many European imports to Northern Ireland. For others, businesses will continue to stockpile raw materials and produce, which will continue to incur increased warehousing costs.
Next, engage with your EU suppliers to determine their Brexit exposure and cost base impacts. This should cover customs and tariffs, logistics and warehousing, standards and accreditation, VAT, supplier contracts and currency fluctuations.
You can do this using supplier surveys, meetings or audits, and carrying out wider market analysis. Next, proactively scenario plan for likely cash flow impacts throughout your operations, while deepening your relationships with strategic suppliers.
Invest NI has developed a Sensitivity Analysis tool with Arvo Procurement. You can use it to calculate the full impact of customs or logistics cost increases on operating costs, margins and profitability.
Watch our Get Ready for Brexit: Strategic Sourcing online tutorial for guidance on how to strengthen your supply chain.
Custom duty rates could vary depending on where you import your goods from. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need to pay different rates of customs duty on imports. The UK government would set temporary rates which would apply from 11pm on exit day, and be in place for up to 12 months from exit day.
Under the temporary tariff plan, the majority of UK imports would be tariff-free. The UK temporary tariff schedule would not apply to goods crossing the land border from Ireland into Northern Ireland. The tariffs will apply equally to imports from all countries, excluding Ireland, with which the UK does not have a trade agreement or any other preferential arrangement.
In a no-deal scenario, this would include the EU (excluding Ireland). In certain sectors, tariffs would be maintained to support the most sensitive agricultural industries, the automotive sector, vulnerable industries exposed to unfair global competition, and to maintain the UK Government’s commitment to developing countries.
Following the 12-month temporary tariff plan, the UK government would introduce a long-term tariff regime, following a full public consultation process.
Use the UK Trade Tariff tool to look up your commodity codes, customs duty and VAT rates. This will be updated with the new customs duty rates in the event of a No Deal, and these rates would apply from 11pm on exit day. Read more about the temporary rates of customs duty on imports if the UK leaves the EU with No Deal.
Depending on your industry sector, markets and customers, and supplier base and supply chain, it may be prudent to stockpile products in preparation of a no-deal outcome. Your stock is made up of non-critical, bottleneck, leverage and strategic items.
- Non-critical items are those you routinely purchase with a low spend and low risk to business operations such as office consumables.
- Leverage items are those bought from an open market offering good competition so you can move easily in the supply base.
- Bottleneck items are typically non-perishable, low value items vital for your production process, therefore placing a high risk to business operations when unavailable, due to monopoly or unreliability of supply.
- Strategic items are those your operations cannot do without, and due to natural scarcity you have developed collaborative partnerships with key suppliers to ensure continuity of supply.
Stockpiling or bulk buying with increased storage capacity is a legitimate sourcing strategy for bottleneck supplies. Consider your level of risk with bottleneck suppliers, and how prepared they are for Brexit.
Your cash flow and warehousing capacity will influence your decision of what and how much to stockpile, and by when. This is also the opportune time to renegotiate credit terms with your bottleneck suppliers and develop long-term relationships with key suppliers to support your stockpiling strategy.
You should seek assurance as soon as possible, informally and formally, from your suppliers in Ireland and the EU, to ensure continuation of supply.
Informally, strengthen existing supplier relationships, especially with your bottleneck suppliers. You should also research your suppliers’ strategies, finances and risk exposure to Brexit
Maintain regular and transparent communication with your supplier base so you can work collaboratively to meet the challenges arising from Brexit. You can ensure the continuity of your supply chain by developing long-term strategic partnerships which incorporates a shared vision and objectives, proactive planning and project management, flexibility and teamwork, and mutual trust and respect.
Formally, you could establish supplier service level agreements (SLAs) that provide a comprehensive description of all aspects of the supplier's service, the level of service they must deliver, and the responsibilities and priorities you and the supplier have agreed to.
This is particularly important for bottleneck suppliers where spend is relatively low but the impact of supply interruption will be very high. The SLAs should include specific Brexit-related clauses covering a range of factors, such as:
- Who bears the risk of delays
- The relative importance of time to delivery
- Who bears the cost of changes in law
- Who bears the supply chain costs
- Mechanisms for revisiting contractual terms such as price and exchange rates
- Termination of the service level agreement
- The legal jurisdiction(s) that apply
- Compliance with data protection regulation
SLAs take time and effort to develop so be diligent in gathering information, negotiating and building consensus with your suppliers.
Opening a branch or a subsidiary in Ireland will have tax and legal implications that need careful consideration. Whether the UK faces a managed exit or a no-deal Brexit, your customers and suppliers in this jurisdiction may face challenges due to increases to import tariffs, logistical delays, diverging regulatory standards between the EU and the UK, and higher administration costs. Opening a local subsidiary could help minimise the impact.
Following the UK referendum result, some financial firms have opened offices in Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin to ensure they can continue to service customers in the EU, should their London operations lose the ability to operate across the EU, post-Brexit. If you also operate within a regulated industry, you need to know if similar restrictions could apply to your business.
Setting up an office in Ireland will not only depend on whether the UK faces a managed exit or a no-deal Brexit, but also the national and international spread of your customers and workforce, investment priorities, sector-specific regulation and tariff implications post-Brexit. Key considerations should also include:
- Your ability to act as an importer/distributor for your EU customers, thereby reducing operating and administrative costs to import into the EU as a third country.
- The impact of legislative and regulatory changes to your business activities in the EU covering sales, marketing, data protection, distribution, licensing and tax.
- Your ability to provide local support to EU customers while demonstrating a commitment to local market(s).
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the public procurement regulations will remain broadly unchanged after Brexit. Suppliers who wish to access contract opportunities from the EU and Ireland may continue to do so via the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).
In June 2018 the Government began negotiations for the UK to become an independent signatory of the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), and in February 2019 the World Trade Organisation (WTO) announced that the UK would become a party to the agreement in its own right. This means UK businesses will have access to both markets, and those of other signatories, on a non-discriminatory basis. However, UK businesses will be subject to higher thresholds than currently apply under EU law.
As this is an evolving scenario, you are advised to review the public sector procurement guidance after a No Deal Brexit under the Brexit guidance section from UK Government.
My Northern Ireland based company has an EU wide trade mark. Is this null and void following Brexit?
After Brexit, EU trade marks (EUTMs) will cease to have effect in the UK. The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has announced a numbering system for EUTMs which are to be cloned into corresponding UK trade mark registrations post-Brexit. The new registrations will carry the prefix 'UK009' followed by the last eight digits of the existing EUTM numbers. The prefix designation will distinguish the new comparable rights from trade marks already on the UK register. See more examples of numbering for comparable UK trade marks.
To secure the existing rights, the IPO will clone registered EUTMs and create comparable UK rights at exit date. These 'cloned' rights will be recorded on the UK register and:
- will be created automatically, without re-examination and free of charge
- will have the UK009 prefix added to indicate it is a cloned registration
- will be subject to renewal in the UK via the IPO
- will retain the filing dates recorded against the corresponding EUTM
- will inherit any priority and/or seniority dates
- can form the basis for proceedings in the UK
- can be assigned and licensed separately from the original EU right
The IPO will notify right holders that a new UK right has been granted by publishing a notification and guidance on their website. If a right holder of an existing EUTM does not wish to receive a new comparable registration, they may be able to opt-out of the process. Existing EUTMs will continue to be valid in the remaining 27 EU member states.
If you have a pending EUTM application at exit date, you will not be automatically granted an equivalent UK application. Instead, you will have nine months to file an equivalent UK application, which will benefit from the same filing/priority/seniority date as the EUTM from which it originated. However, you will have to pay for this new UK application. Your pending EU application will continue as normal and no refiling is required. If granted, the right will only apply to the remaining 27 EU member states.
For more information, see the Government’s technical notice on trade marks and EU exit and guidance on the changes to trade mark law in the event on a No Deal Brexit.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published resources to help you comply with data protection laws. This includes a Six Steps to Take checklist, a guide on data protection if there is a No Deal Brexit and a selection of frequently asked questions on information rights and Brexit.
If you only operate within the UK, there isno substantive change to the data protection rules. You have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation which the UK Government plans to incorporate into domestic law.
If you operate in the European Economic Area (EEA) and process personal data across EU/EEA borders, you may need to deal with a lead data protection authority in the EU. If you offer goods or services in the EEA, or monitor the behaviour of EEA subjects, butdo not have an established presence in the EU/EEA after 31 October 2019, you may need to employ a European representative. In both scenarios, you need to comply with the UK and EU regimes, after the UK exits the EU.
If you transfer data from the UK to the EEA, the UK Government intends to permit data to flow freely from the UK to the EEA countries. You should review your privacy information and your internal documentation to identify any details that will need updating when the UK leaves the EU.
If you transfer data from the EEA to the UK, the flow of personal data is likely to be affected. The UK would become a third country, and your business will be subject to strict international transfers of personal data rules. You will need to ensure you have appropriate GDPR safeguards so you can lawfully exchange personal data in the EEA, such as Standard Contractual Clausesbetween your business and organisations outside the UK.
The UK decision to leave the EU has made it difficult for businesses to plan for the future, as the specific terms of its departure are unknown, and the time-frame keeps shifting. Whilst trading relationships between your business in Northern Ireland and suppliers in Ireland and the EU, could be impacted by the following factors:
- Unsustainable supply of goods and services due to increased administration, more complex regulation, supply chain delays and reduced cash flow from losing the zero VAT rating.
- Currency volatility due to significant fluctuation in the value of sterling since 2016. As this is expected to continue, your business should seek professional advice when processing high-value euro transactions.
- If the UK leaves the EU with no-deal, it becomes a third country and no longer share common standards, regulations and accreditations. This divergence will present the following risks to:
- REACH, the EU regulation addressing the sourcing, production, supply and use of chemical substances, and other EU chemicals legislative instruments such as CLP for classification, labelling and packaging, BPR for biocidal products, and PIC for the import and export of certain hazardous chemicals.
- Trade regulations for the automotive sector, as European Community type approvals for vehicles and trailers issued in the UK will no longer be valid for sales of registrations in the EU market. Read what UK vehicle and component manufacturers will need to do to show they meet safety and environmental standards after the UK leaves the EU.
- The General Data Protection Regulation which applies to businesses based in the EU and those with EU citizens as customers. It also has an extraterritorial effect, so non-EU countries will also be affected.
- Delayed imports and exports following the re-introduction of customs checks at the borders, impeding efficient movement of goods into, out of, and through the UK. Just in time deliveries, which many businesses currently operate, may not be as efficient in the future.
- More expensive imports and exports due to increased administration, delays and varying driver regulations. Logistics operators will need to manage the delays, possibly by the introduction of relief drivers in transit.
In the event of a No Deal, the EU will no longer recognise the results of conformity assessments carried out by UK Notified Bodies. As a result, you will no longer be able to apply the CE marking after a No Deal exit date if your product requires a third-party assessment of conformity, and you use a UK body to assess your product against the requirements of EU law.
The UK Government has planned a new product safety symbol, replacing the CE mark in the event of a No Deal Brexit. The new symbol will carry the letters UKCA, standing for UK Conformity Assessed. You will have to apply the new UKCA marking after a No Deal exit date to sell your products in the UK market. The rules around using the new UKCA marking will mirror those that currently apply for the application of the CE marking. Read more about using the UKCA marking if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
If you sell your goods in the UK, you should be aware of the following:
- For a time-limited period, you can continue to use the CE mark to sell products in the UK after exit. How long this period will last is currently unclear but the UK Government will consult with industry and provide notice before ending it.
- During this time-limited period, you have the option of using the new UKCA mark instead of the CE mark on your product. However, while the CE mark will still be recognised in the UK, the UKCA mark will not be recognised in Europe.
- Goods sold in the UK market before a no-deal exit date can continue to circulate in the UK as they do now, without any changes to the marking requirements.
If you sell your goods in the EU, you should be aware of the following:
- If you obtained the CE mark through self-certification, there will be no change. You can continue to use this to export to the EU.
- If your products need to be certified by a conformity assessment body, you will have to get them assessed and marked by an EU-recognised Notified Body.
- If your products have existing CE marking status, which results from conformity assessments undertaken by a UK Notified Body, you should consider transferring assessments to an EU-recognised Body before the UK leaves the EU.
If you are selling goods in the UK and the EU, your products will need to carry the CE for EU markets and UKCA for the UK market.
A popular tool for identifying risks across your supplier base is the Kraljic portfolio purchasing model. It allows you to categorise your suppliers against risk and profitability to your business. Watch how you can use the Kraljic model to categorise your suppliers.
To determine which of your suppliers are most exposed due to Brexit, start by identifying your strategic and bottleneck suppliers using the Kraljic model. Then list your suppliers, focusing on the following top 10 criteria:
- level of spend per supplier, or financial impact
- the supplier’s location (directly or indirectly in the EU)
- level of satisfaction with the supplier or supplies
- whether the switching costs to an alternative supplier are high/medium/low
- level of adaptation or customisation in the supplied product
- product or supplier standards or accreditations such as CE Mark, GDPR or REACH
- lead time(s) to produce new item(s)
- level of competition in the market, or number of alternative suppliers
- relationships and partnerships developed over time, including credit terms
- production, operational, profit, customer and financial impacts
You can then use this information to evaluate impact on time, cost and reliability, consider strategic sourcing arrangements and scope out alternatives.
If you are unable to develop long-term partnerships with your bottleneck and strategic suppliers, or consider increasing stock-holding, you should proactively consider alternative suppliers. Below are the steps you should take:
- Develop a detailed but easy-to-understand product specification, with no jargon or acronyms.
- Create supplier verification criteria such as turnover, references, accreditation, location, insurances and expertise.
- Determine the storage requirements and financial commitments for a new supplier (where credit terms may not be in place).
- Research trade magazines, trade shows and competitor networks to identify potential suppliers.
- Consider global sourcing agents and distributors, as required.
- When significant competition exists, run a professional tender and generate competition for your spend.
Moving away from single source suppliers is good business practice and you will benefit from having alternative sources of products or services, even if these require some re-engineering in product development or the use of substitute raw materials.
The answer is usually ‘yes’ but the extent to which it impacts on your business will depend on a number of factors:
- the type of business
- what your trade terms are
- what you are importing and exporting
- whether you sell or buy high volumes of goods and services to or from the European Union
- whether your business has heavily integrated UK-EU supply chains
- whether your business is heavily reliant on the EU for staff
- whether you operate in highly regulated areas
- whether you are using agents
According to HM Revenue and Customs'(HMRC) Regional Trade Statistics for year ending 2017, Northern Ireland exports were valued at £8.7 billion with the EU accounting for 57% in terms of destination markets. In addition, 33% (£2.9 billion) of Northern Ireland’s exports were destined for Ireland. The top three exporting sectors in Northern Ireland were:
- machinery and transport at 33% of export share
- chemicals and related products at 16% of export share
- food and live animals at 15% of export share
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Northern Ireland would be outside both the Single Market and Customs Union. This will mean that goods crossing any border would need to have duties and VAT applied, meet the country of origin criteria and satisfy regulatory checks. Finding a way to achieve this level of regulation without physical checks at border points may be difficult.
If you have not considered how Brexit will affect your business then a good starting point is our Brexit online assessment tool. You will be able to score your business readiness against the areas most likely to be impacted by Brexit and understand your business’ current and future needs, create contingency plans and take key actions to prepare for Brexit.
To import or export goods with the EU, you need to have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
HMRC uses this number to identify you and collect duty on your goods. You may have increased costs and delays if you do not get an EORI number.
An EORI number is a twelve digit number beginning with the prefix ‘GB’, such as GB000000000000. You’ll need to have a UK issued EORI number if you:
- are a business established in the UK
- will import or export goods with the EU from exit day
It could take three days to get a UK issued EORI number, so you should apply now.
Having an EORI number allows you to:
- trade goods into or out of the UK
- submit declarations using software (or to give to your agent to make these declarations on your behalf)
- apply to be authorised for customs simplifications and procedures.
You do not need an EORI number if you only import or export:
- services that do not involve moving physical goods
- goods with Ireland across the Northern Ireland–Ireland land border (businesses will receive a future update about the arrangements for trading with Ireland from HMRC)
You can apply for an EORI number here: apply for EORI number
The process takes five to 10 minutes and you will need to provide some specific details related to your type of business when applying for an EORI number.
If you’re VAT-registered, you will need your VAT registration number and the name under which your business is registered for VAT.
If you’re not VAT-registered, you will need:
- an address in the UK
- an email address
- your date of birth
- your National Insurance number
If your businesses is a partnership, you will need the following information for each individual partner:
- date of birth
- National Insurance number
If your business is registered as a company, you will need the following:
- Company Registration Number
- company incorporation date (the date your company came into being)
- country of incorporation, (for example, the UK)
If you are a registered charity, you will need the following:
- your registered charity number
- country of registration (for example, the UK)
If your business has a parent or holding company, your parent or holding company must apply for you.
You will get your EORI number by email, usually within three working days. If you’ve not received the email you should check your spam folder. You can contact the EORI team if you have problems with getting an EORI number.
Telephone: 0300 322 7067
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed bank holidays)
HMRC are allocating more than 88,000 VAT registered companies across the UK an EORI number order to keep trading with customers and suppliers in the EU after the UK has left.
If a business is not VAT-registered, it will still need to register for an EORI number.
You can apply for an EORI number here: Apply for EORI number
You will need for the following for a customs declaration:
Commodity codes are important in determining how your goods are treated. Measures such as duty rates, preferences, quotas, suspensions, Common Agricultural Policy, VAT, excise and Intrastat will all affect how much you will be charged and how your goods will be treated when they arrive and leave the UK, the EU and third countries. Find the commodity code for your goods.
Customs value of your goods
The customs value of your goods must be entered on your customs declaration. You will need to establish the value of your imported goods to work out the amount of customs duty you will need to pay to HMRC. You will need to complete your customs valuation for Irish Revenue at the same time. It is made up of the invoice price plus the cost of transport and insurance.
Origin of your goods
You need to know where the product you are importing originates from. The country of origin of the goods is used to determine the amount of duty payable. This information should be provided by your supplier. The country of origin may not be the same country that you are importing from.
What are the customs procedures for moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland in no-deal Brexit?
Goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland will face different procedures compared to other UK-EU trade. The UK Government has proposed a temporary approach for moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland as detailed below. This approach will apply until longer-term arrangements are made. You will also need to consider any advice issued by the Irish government on their requirements for goods moving into or out of Ireland.
Moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland
The only exceptions will be for goods liable to excise duty such as alcohol, tobacco and certain oils.
- For most movements of goods across the land, air and sea borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland, you will:
- need to pay import VAT on goods arriving from Ireland
- not need to get a customs agent or an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
- not need to pay Customs Duty or make customs declarations
Moving goods between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain
- There will be no new requirements or checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
- If you move goods from Ireland to Great Britain and the goods go through Northern Ireland, you do not have to pay customs duty if the goods move for commercial reasons.
- If you move goods through Ireland and Northern Ireland with the main purpose of avoiding customs duty, you will have to pay the UK’s tariff, whether the goods are from Ireland or outside Ireland.
- The only exceptions will be for goods liable to excise duty such as alcohol, tobacco and certain oils.
Moving goods between Northern Ireland and another country
Commodity codes classify goods for import and export so you can fill in the correct declarations and other paperwork, check if there’s duty or VAT to pay and find out about duty reliefs.
Use the UK Trade Tariff tool to look up your commodity codes, customs duty and VAT rates. It allows you to find the right code by narrowing your search using information such as what your product is, what it is made from, how it works and how it is packaged.
If the UK leaves the EU with no-deal, you may need to pay different rates of customs duty. These rates would only be applied if the UK were to leave the EU with no-deal. The UK Government would set temporary rates which would:
- apply from 11pm on 31 October 2019
- be in place for up to 12 months from 31 October 2019
Under the temporary tariff plan, the majority of UK imports would be tariff-free. The UK temporary tariff schedule would not apply to goods crossing the land border from Ireland into Northern Ireland. The tariffs will apply equally to imports from all countries with which the UK does not have a trade agreement or any other preferential arrangement. In a no-deal scenario, this would include the EU but exclude Ireland. In certain sectors, tariffs would be maintained to support the most sensitive agricultural industries, the automotive sector, vulnerable industries exposed to unfair global competition, and to maintain the UK Government’s commitment to developing countries.
Following the 12-month temporary tariff plan, the UK Government would introduce a long-term tariff regime. This would be developed following a full public consultation process. Check temporary rates of customs duty on imports after EU Exit if the UK leaves the EU with no-deal, if the UK leaves the EU with no-deal when you know the commodity codes for your goods.
As a UK registered company, we have registered and received an EORI number. If we trade in Ireland, will we need two different EORI numbers?
If you plan to operate as an importer of record into Ireland, you will need an Irish EORI number.
Some businesses in Ireland, including multiple retailers, have already instructed suppliers in Northern Ireland that they must ensure their goods are delivered duty paid (DDP). In such circumstances, a business based in Northern Ireland would become the importer of record into Ireland, processing customs clearance, paying applicable duties and taxes; and would therefore need to register with Irish Revenue.
In order to simplify the process for customers in Ireland, some exporters in Northern Ireland might decide to take responsibility for the importation process into Ireland. Usually, the customer is responsible for importing procedures i.e. clearing goods into the destination jurisdiction. This involves processing import declarations, paying associated tariffs and import duties, and accounting for VAT on the goods, all of which will add cost for the customers in Ireland.
Further information is available:Register for an Economic Operators' Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
Import VAT will be due on goods you move from Ireland to Northern Ireland. This includes goods that end their journey in Northern Ireland, and goods that move through Northern Ireland on the way to Great Britain.
If you move goods into Northern Ireland from any other country, or from Ireland directly to Great Britain, you should follow the relevant customs procedures.
How to account for import VAT
- If you’re registered for VAT, you will need to account for import VAT on goods you move from Ireland to Northern Ireland on your normal VAT return. This is similar to how you account for VAT on such imports now.
- If you’re not registered for VAT, you will need to account for import VAT on goods you move from Ireland to Northern Ireland.
HMRC is developing a new online service to make this as simple as possible. The online service will let you to do this on a quarterly import VAT return, rather than for every single movement of goods. You’ll need to sign up for this service in a no-deal Brexit.
You will not have to register for VAT or start charging VAT on your sales.
To prepare you should keep records of any goods you move from Ireland to Northern Ireland from 11pm UK time on 31 October 2019, including:
- receipts for goods
- records of transport costs directly associated with bringing the goods into Northern Ireland
- records of any excise goods such as alcohol, tobacco and certain types of fuel
Register for customs. To import or export goods with the European Union (EU), you need to have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses this number to identify you and collect duty on your goods. You may have increased costs and delays if you do not get an EORI number.
Decide who will submit your customs declarations. Customs formalities will apply post-Brexit when trading in goods with the EU. This means you will have to submit customs declarations. You, or an agent acting on your behalf, for example, a haulage firm, freight forwarder or customs broker, must have the facility to lodge electronic customs declarations to HMRC.
Ensure you have the key data required for a customs declaration.
Commodity codes are important in determining how your goods are treated. Measures such as duty rates, preferences, quotas, suspensions, Common Agricultural Policy, VAT, excise and Intrastat will all affect how much you will be charged and how your goods will be treated when they arrive and leave the UK, the EU and third countries. Find the commodity code for your goods.
Customs value of your goods
The customs value of your goods must be entered on your customs declaration. It is made up of the invoice price plus the cost of transport and insurance.
Origin of your goods
The country of origin of the goods is used to determine the amount of duty payable. This information should be provided by your supplier. The country of origin may not be in the same country that you are importing from.
Check whether any duty relief schemes apply. Duty relief schemes allow you to pay less or no duty on imports and exports from and to non-EU countries. Find out more about duty relief for imports and exports.
Check what your customers will need to pay in the countries you are exporting to.
Check to see if you need a licence to export outside the UK. Depending on what you are exporting, such as agri products or chemicals, you may need an export licence. Find out more about what export licence you need.
If you are a food producer, manufacturer, retailer or supplier there could be changes to food labels if there is a no-deal Brexit. Check if you will need to change the food labelling on the packaging for your goods.
If you import or export any goods using wood packaging material (WPM) you must meet the treatment and marking requirements under the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures 15 (ISPM15). To ensure that you are conforming to the required standards, read the import and export guidance on WPM published by the UK Government.
Engage with your hauliers to ensure they are prepared for a no-deal Brexit. This will include how they can continue to enter/work in the EU, including permit arrangements, registration requirements for trailers, professional qualifications for drivers and traffic management at borders.
Assess whether alternative routes should be considered to avoid possible delays.
It is vital that your hauliers understand the likely impact of a no-deal Brexit. You must ensure they understand customs procedures, and that drivers have the ability to access details of customs declarations wherever they are, for example in Ireland, in the EU, on board ferries, and so on. Read the the checklist of documents that haulage drivers must carry to pass through customs if there's a no-deal Brexit the UK Government has published.
Documents for commercial, customs and transit at roll-on roll-off locations
Your haulier will need to carry a number of different documents for commercial, customs and transit at roll-on roll-off locations. These include documentation for:
- declaring the import and export of goods
- moving goods under transit
- moving an empty vehicle or trailer
Declaring import of goods into the UK from the EU (where the destination is the UK)
If carrying goods into the UK from the EU via roll-on roll-off locations, your haulier will need to do the following to enable the customs authority to identity and process your packages:
- Provide evidence of a customs declaration such as an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, or a Movement Reference Number (MRN) or entry number.
- Check with the EU customs authority about the documents they will require to export goods from the EU to the UK.
Declaring export of goods from the UK into the EU
Once your goods have been legally presented and Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) computer has accepted the declaration, permission to progress (P2P) is granted the goods may then be loaded for export shipment. You will need to be able to communicate to your haulier that your goods have received P2P to the port from HMRC before they can be taken across the border. What you need to do will depend on the type of P2P they have:
- P2P granted: Your goods can be collected by your haulier and continue to the specified UK port.
- P2P not granted, physical check required: Your goods can be collected by your haulier, then proceed to a Designated Export Place (DEP) or approved inland location, for appropriate checks and P2P.
- P2P not granted, documentary evidence provided: Your goods cannot be collected until you have provided the documentary checks to the National Clearance Hub and received further instructions.
You will need to check with the EU customs authority as to the documentation they require at the EU border. Goods may be selected for further checks during the crossing and may need to be inspected by customs on arrival in the EU. You can learn about the new customs processes for selected EU countries here:
If you are selling to customers in the EU post-Brexit, you will need to declare your exports to HMRC. This is generally done electronically, using the National Export System.
The declaration includes details of the classification of the goods being exported and which country they are going to. For more information, read the guide on export declarations and the National Export System. Alternatively, an authorised agent or freight forwarder can handle the customs declaration for you.
Transport documentation is needed to provide instructions to the carrier on what should be done with the goods. They can be used to pass responsibility for, and sometimes ownership of, the goods during their journey.
If you are exporting goods, you typically complete an Export Cargo Shipping Instruction giving the freight forwarder details of the goods and how they are to reach their destination.
You also normally complete a Standard Shipping Note, telling the port how to handle the goods.
The carrier should provide you with documentary evidence that they have received the goods, for example a bill of lading or a waybill. You should keep any documents as evidence in case of later problems with the shipment.
A CIM Consignment Note gives details of the goods being transported. If you are shipping dangerous goods, you must also complete a dangerous goods declaration. See the guide on moving dangerous goods.
You may need to insure the goods, and you may also be required to provide proof of insurance to your customer, particularly if you are passing on the costs. You should discuss what documentation is required with your customer and your insurer.
If you are importing goods, you generally need an invoice and a copy of the transport documentation, such as a bill of lading, for customs clearance. For goods worth over £6,500, a valuation statement is also normally required.
Depending on your type of products, you might also need to provide licences and/or veterinary or plant health certificates.
What will the customs paperwork look like for importing/ exporting goods to/ from the EU from/ to Northern Ireland?
The main customs form used in international trade is known as the Single Administrative Document (SAD), also known as form C88 in the UK. Traders and agents can use the SAD to assist with declaring import, export, transit and community status declarations in manual processing situations.
You must declare imports of third country goods into the UK by using the information captured on the SAD using the CHIEF system on HMRC’s Customs Declaration Service (CDS). You can complete details on the SAD and arrange for an agent to act for you.
If you or your agent has approved access, the data can be directly inputted into CDS. For goods that are liable for duty a full declaration to CDS or a paper SAD declaration is required. Read HMRC’s guidance on trade tariff imports and community transport inwards.
We ship to multiple customers from Northern Ireland to Ireland on the same truck. Will we pay one export and one import charge, or multiple charges? And will drivers be required to present multiple documents?
Post-Brexit, goods will be subject to export and import entries to/from Ireland. To date, the Irish Revenue Commissionaires have not provided clear guidance on customs procedures relating to cross-border trade in a no-deal scenario. However, it is advisable for businesses in Northern Ireland to prepare for the regular export and import procedures relating to trade with ‘third countries’.
For product sales from Northern Ireland to Ireland, UK export and Ireland import entries will need to be completed per consignment (i.e. per customer). Duties and VAT will be secured by Irish Revenue in respect of each consignment.
The importer for each separate consignment must be clearly defined and assurances given/received that they are happy to outlay taxes and reclaim VAT where applicable.
Depending on the carrier model used, this would mean an additional cost to the business. Courier companies might include the clearance fee in their transport rate. Either way, the cost should be considered, and would have to be negotiated with the carriers.
With all customs clearances, a small percentage of consignments are randomly selected for examination of documents, or of documents and freight. While this is not a large number of consignments, it should still be considered as a potential impediment to the delivery process.
Where a vehicle contains multiple consignments, the risk of a random examination increases, and this would delay all consignments pending the inspection being satisfactorily completed.
We ship products from Northern Ireland to rented warehouses in Ireland. Do we pay customs duties when the goods are transported to the warehouse, or when shipped to an Irish customer?
At the point of import into Ireland, customs clearance will need to be completed, with duties and VAT secured by Irish Revenue, and this will need to be completed per consignment.
The importer of record into Ireland is responsible for importing procedures (i.e. clearing goods into Ireland). This involves processing Import Declarations, paying associated tariffs and import duties, and accounting for VAT on the goods, all of which will add cost for the customers in Ireland.
If the exporter from Northern Ireland takes responsibility for the importation process into Ireland, they would then become the importer of record into Ireland, processing customs clearance and paying applicable duties and taxes, and would therefore need to register with Irish Revenue.
An alternative solution might be to avail of customs warehousing in Ireland. Customs warehousing is one of a number of procedures provided for in EU legislation which are referred to collectively as Special Procedures. Customs warehousing allows non-EU goods to be stored in a designated location within the customs territory of the EU without being subject to import duties. Duty becomes payable when the goods are released for free circulation.
For more information, read the guidance manual on customs warehousing issued by Irish Revenue.
Do I need to use a customs broker or freight forwarder? Where do I find solution providers to assist me with customs declarations?
Customs formalities will apply post-Brexit when trading in goods with the EU. This means you will have to submit customs declarations.
You, or an agent acting on your behalf, must have the facility to lodge electronic customs declarations to HMRC. Further information from the UK Government is available about how to go about declaring your goods at customs in a no-deal Brexit.
Since the initiation of the Single Market, businesses have not had to process customs declarations when trading with other EU countries, so the number of customs brokers/agents has declined. In the run-up to the 29 March 2019 deadline, businesses in Northern Ireland struggled to find customs brokers/agents that were accepting new business.
It is advisable for any business with a track record in trading with third countries, for example USA, Turkey or China, to contact the logistics provider, freight forwarder, courier company or customs brokers/agent they have used to process customs declarations, and to secure their services for trading with the EU post-Brexit. It is also advisable to check on the rates they will charge to process import and export declarations, as it might be possible to negotiate a better deal based on the volume of business.
As an alternative, you should consider the option of processing customs declarations in-house by obtaining software or by using the National Export System for export declarations. HMRC provides a list of approved software suppliers that offer the necessary training and support to enable your business to use their software.
However it is also advisable for you to avail of training in customs procedures. It is important you consider the resource requirement associated with processing customs declarations in-house on your business in terms of personnel, training, time and cost.
We are concerned about growing our business in the Irish market. Is it possible for us to undertake the administration for imports to Ireland?
Much attention has been focussed on preparing businesses to submit customs declarations. Undoubtedly, this will add complexity and cost for many businesses. What is sometimes overlooked is the impact that customs formalities might have on export customers, in particular, on small businesses.
Many such small to medium enterprises(SME’s) in Ireland currently trade freely with suppliers in Northern Ireland, but this will change post-Brexit at which time they will be required to process customs declarations for each consignment they import. Goods will also be subject to tariffs and VAT at point of import.
As is the case in Northern Ireland, many Irish SME’s have no experience of trading with third countries, so they will need to put solutions in place for processing customs declarations. This can include using customs brokers and agents, freight forwarders, logistics providers, courier companies or in-house solutions.
Typically, each import declaration might cost them in the range of £50. When this is added to the tariff and the additional cost and complexity associated with trading with a third country, it is possible that some transactions will no longer be sustainable. Obviously, this will depend on factors including the nature of the relationship between the customer and the supplier, the value of the goods, and availability of alternative suppliers in the local market.
In order to simplify the process for customers in Ireland, some exporters in Northern Ireland might decide to take responsibility for the importation process into Ireland and to deliver the goods Duty Paid (DDP). In such circumstances, a business based in Northern Ireland would become the importer of record into Ireland, processing customs clearance, paying applicable duties and taxes, and would therefore need to register for an EORI number with Irish Revenue.
Another option might be to hold stock in Ireland to service the local market. So, rather than transporting individual orders from Northern Ireland, each requiring customs declarations, this would involve shipping larger consignments to a warehouse in Ireland and fulfilling orders from that facility.
An alternative solution might be to avail of customs warehousing in Ireland. Customs warehousing is one of a number of procedures provided for in EU legislation which are referred to collectively as Special Procedures. Customs warehousing allows non-EU goods to be stored in a designated location within the customs territory of the EU without being subject to import duties. Duty becomes payable when the goods are released for free circulation. For more information, read the guidance manual on customs warehousing issued by Irish Revenue.
UK Government has said there will be no duties on goods coming from Ireland into Northern Ireland, and no physical checks at the border. What about traffic going the other way?
In March 2019, the UK announced that goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland will face different procedures compared to other EU-UK trade.
For most movements of goods across the land, air and sea borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland, you will:
- need to pay import VAT on goods arriving from Ireland
- not need to get a customs agent or an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
- not need to pay Customs Duty or make customs declarations
The only exceptions will be for goods liable to excise duty such as alcohol, tobacco and certain oils. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has also published guidance if you are importing and exporting plant and plant products. These goods will still be exempt from Customs Duty, but you will need to make a declaration to HMRC if you import or export goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
This guidance only covers the UK Government’s temporary approach for moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Businesses will also need to consider any advice issued by the Irish Government on their requirements for goods moving into or out of Ireland.
To date, neither the Irish Government nor the Irish Revenue Commissionaires have given any indication that trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland would be treated any differently to that with any other third country.
Currently, trade between the UK and the EU is seamless as a result of the Customs Union and the Single Market. Post-Brexit, there will be a requirement for customs declarations to be processed for each export and import, and payment of tariffs and VAT will be required for goods to flow across the Channel.
Although customs declarations and associated payments may be processed electronically, it is anticipated that many businesses will not be fully prepared in time for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October 2019.
Any customs regime requires random inspections, and there will also need to be special processes put in place for certain product groups, including agri products and chemicals. Consequently, delays are anticipated at borders, although the nature of such delays can only be speculated upon.
We sell a lot of our products to UK mainland customers. Will Brexit affect our competitiveness due to delays and extra costs of getting goods delivered from Northern Ireland to mainland UK?
There will be no new requirements or checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
It is envisaged that there will be minimal impact on ferry routes between Northern Ireland and Scotland as most of this trade is intra-UK. However, your business should prepare for possible delays at English ports such as Liverpool.
A large proportion of goods from Northern Ireland are shipped via ports in Ireland. For example, it is estimated that one third of freight arriving in Holyhead from Dublin originates in Northern Ireland. Although these goods will be moved under transit arrangements, i.e. fewer border checks and no export declarations, there is still the likelihood of delays due to the predominance of goods being imported and exported between Ireland and the UK, on that route. Any such delays might impact freight between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and your business could incur additional costs.
Third party warehousing costs have increased across the UK and Ireland as a result of stockpiling due to Brexit. So, there is the potential for increased costs for businesses in Northern Ireland servicing the Great Britain market.
If your business is already trading beyond the EU, you should already be familiar with customs procedures.
Whether such consignments will be impacted by physical delays in a no-deal scenario will likely be determined by the transport mode, for example, roll-on roll-off ports, deep sea, air and freight, and the transit route. You should discuss your concerns with your logistics providers or freight forwarders.
You should also consider the fact that existing trade deals negotiated by the EU with various countries and trading blocs will no longer apply post-Brexit. So, it is possible that World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms might apply in the absence of new trade deals being initiated by the UK.
We send goods to the UK via Dublin Port. How might our shipments be impacted, and how should we prepare?
A considerable proportion of goods destined for Great Britain from Northern Ireland are transported through Irish ports and airports. For example, it is estimated that one third of freight arriving in Holyhead from Dublin originates in Northern Ireland.
Following Brexit, Ireland will become a third country in respect of customs procedures. However, if your goods are moved through Ireland en route to Great Britain, you will be able to avail of transit arrangements, and no customs tariffs will apply. When you move goods between or through common transit countries you can use the Common Transit Convention (CTC). The UK Government has published guidance on what you need to do if you are importing after Brexit.
The TIR system allows UK customs officials to pack and seal goods before they are transported. This means that the load will not need to be opened and inspected by customs officials at border crossings.
Although consignments from Northern Ireland transported via Ireland to Great Britain will be moved under transit arrangements, i.e. fewer border checks and no export declarations, there is still the likelihood of delays due to the predominance of goods being imported and exported between Ireland and the UK, on that route. Any such delays might impact freight between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and your business could incur additional costs.
It is usually the responsibility of the logistics provider to process the necessary documentation to facilitate the movement of goods under the CTC. It is therefore advisable you engage with your third party logistics providers to discuss your requirements.
Will there be alternative supply routes from the EU to Ireland to avoid channel ports and by-passing the land bridge?
CLdN, a Luxembourg-based shipping company, has introduced two “mega vessels” on new direct ROLL-ON ROLL-OFF freight routes linking Dublin with the Belgian port of Zeebrugge and the Dutch port of Rotterdam. Brittany Ferries started a new service between Cork and the Spanish port of Santander in 2018. Meanwhile, Irish Continental Group has increased freight capacity nearly 10-fold between Dublin and the French port of Cherbourg when a new ferry comes into service. Weekly freight capacity on this route would increase to 1,155 trucks, although some of that would be reserved for tourist vehicles in the holiday season.
Direct routes to continental Europe have the potential to displace some of the busy freight traffic between Ireland and the UK, although Ireland’s heavy reliance on trade with Britain means links between the two will continue to be a mainstay.
Transit times on direct routes to mainland Europe are longer but would offer more certainty over trucking schedules in the event of new checks at UK ports.
UK hauliers can continue to use their EU Community Licence until 31 December 2019. You will not need any extra permits to transport goods in EU countries until 1 January 2020.
Post 1 January 2020, you may need one or more international driving permits (IDPs), as well as your UK driving licence to drive in an EU or EEA country. Find out which IDPs you might need to drive in an EU or EEA country. Read the guidance on preparing to drive in the EU after Brexit .
If you have a UK driving licence, you will not need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in Ireland.
- Find out about driving abroad on the Automobile Association (AA) website.
- Find out about driving abroad on the RAC website.
Each vehicle will need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving in the EU and EEA. Contact your vehicle insurance provider one month before you travel to get green cards for your vehicle. Read more about vehicle insurance.
You will need to register some commercial and non-commercial trailers before towing them to or through most EU and EEA countries. This applies to all:
- commercial trailers over 750kg
- non-commercial trailers over 3,500kg
This means that these trailers making international journeys will need to:
- Display their own registration plate, separate from the vehicle towing them.
- Have a trailer registration certificate that can be shown to a foreign authority on request.
If you take an abnormal load trailer outside the UK you must apply for a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer. You need to carry the keeper’s certificate in your vehicle when you go abroad.
You should display a ‘GB’ sticker on the rear of your vehicle, even if you currently have a number plate which includes the Great Britain identifier. Find out more about displaying number plates, flags, symbols and identifiers.
If there is a no-deal Brexit, Northern Ireland drivers may need to carry a green card when travelling to Ireland.
Green cards are an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK, guaranteeing that the driver has the necessary third-party motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to.
They are not cards in the strict sense; they are paper documents, which, under current international rules, should be printed on green paper.
Each vehicle will need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving in the EU and EEA. Contact your vehicle insurance provider one month before you travel to get green cards for your vehicle. Any charge for a green card will depend on your insurer. Read more about vehicle insurance.
What are the packaging requirements for goods transported between the UK and EU in the event of a no-deal? Must we use heat-treated pallets?
If you import or export any goods using wood packaging material (WPM) you must meet the treatment and marking requirements under the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures 15 (ISPM15). The aim of ISPM15 is to prevent the international transport and spread of diseases and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems.
To ensure that you are conforming to the required standards, read the import and export guidance on WPM published by the UK Government.
Following Brexit, all WPM being imported from the UK to the EU (including Ireland) will need to be ISPM15 compliant. It may be subject to official checks either upon entry to the EU (including Ireland) or after entry.
Post-Brexit, wood packaging imported from or exported to the UK, whether or not it is actually in use for the transport of objects, must be ISPM15 compliant. ISPM15 requires WPM to be:
- either heat treated (HT), fumigated (MB), or heat treated using dielectric heating (DH)
- officially marked with the ISPM 15 stamp consisting of 3 codes (country, producer and measure applied) and the IPPC logo
The requirements listed above do not apply to:
- wood 6mm thick or less
- WPM made entirely from processed wood produced using glue, heat and pressure e.g. plywood, oriented strand board and veneer
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is the designated National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) for the IPPC in Ireland, and the implementation of ISPM15 is overseen on an administrative basis by DAFM’s Forestry Inspectorate division.
Currently, Northern Ireland is second behind London in terms of reliance on the European Economic Area (EEA) for employees and throughout the UK, there are an estimated 3.8 million European Union (EU) citizens.
Brexit will impact the ease of movement of people from Europe travelling to and from the UK. In a deal situation, following the end of the transition period in 2021, the general rule will be that EEA nationals and their family members will only be permitted to enter the UK for up to three months without restriction.
From January 2021, the UK Government intends to introduce a new skills-based immigration system that will replace the present points based system for non-EU nationals and will apply equally to EU nationals on the basis that free movement rights will no longer exist.
Ireland and the UK
The Common Travel Area (CTA), the arrangement between the UK and Ireland that permits ease of travel amongst other reciprocal rights in each other’s countries, will remain. The associated rights and entitlements of the CTA includes access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, as well as the right to vote in certain elections.
This will not change as a result of Brexit. Employers should note that Irish nationals will not need immigration permission to work in the UK and British nationals will not need immigration permission to work in Ireland.
If you or your employees wish to stay in the UK permanently, they can consider the following options:
- Permanent residence status - can be acquired followed five years of continuous residence under existing EU rules.
- The EU Settlement Scheme - will allow EU citizens and their close family members to continue to live and work in the UK beyond 31 December 2020 (or by the date Brexit takes effect in a no-deal situation). Please see more detail in the following question in relation to this.
- British Citizenship - is based on five years continuous residence but in most cases you must also have been legally settled in the UK for at least a year before applying.
The EU Settlement Scheme (Scheme) will allow EU citizens and their close family members to continue to live and work in the UK beyond 31 December 2020. You should apply for the Scheme if:
- you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
- and your family member is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
The Scheme opened on 30 March 2019 and applications can be made for free. You must make an application by 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020, if the UK leaves the EU with no-deal.
Successful applicants will be given either settled or pre-settled status, depending on their circumstances and the length of time they have lived in the UK.
You do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to remain or enter the UK, or you are an Irish citizen, but you can if you want to.
Anyone who is able to apply and does not apply by the deadline will no longer be living in the UK legally. It is still unclear what will happen to those who have not applied under the Scheme by the deadline, but it is unlikely that employers will not be able to continue legally employing any staff who have not applied for settled or pre-settled status.
Settled status is generally granted when a person has started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or by the date Brexit takes place if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and has lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years or more.
This means that for five years in a row, the person has been in the UK for at least six months in any 12 month period. Exceptions apply however, for example if the applicant have been absent from the UK for reasons such as childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or compulsory military training.
Successful applicants can stay in the UK indefinitely and will be able to apply for British citizenship (if eligible) 12 months after receiving settled status. However, note that the settled status can be lost if the holder spends more than five years outside the UK.
Pre-settled status is usually granted if a person does not have five years’ continuous residence when they apply to the Scheme, but has started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or by the date Brexit takes place if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Successful applicants can stay in the UK for a further five years from the date they get pre-settled status. Applicants can then apply to change this to settled status once they have acquired five years’ continuous residence.
If a person will reach five years’ continuous residence at some point before 30 December 2020, they can choose to wait to apply for settled status when they reach five years’ continuous residence. This means that if their application is successful, they will get settled status, without having to apply for pre-settled status first.
With either status, the applicant will be able to:
- work in the UK
- use the National Health Service
- enrol in education or continue studying
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions (if eligible)
- travel in and out of the UK
For more information, watch our Get Ready for Brexit: People Movement and Immigration tutorial.
If you have settled status, you will be able to spend up to five years in a row outside the UK, and two years, if you have pre-settled status.
If you get settled or pre-settled status, your close family members can join you in the UK before 31 December 2020. They will need to apply for the Scheme as your family member. You will not be able to bring them here if your relationship with them begins after 31 December 2020. Instead, they will be able to come to the UK on a family visa.
You can apply for settled or pre-settled status for your child if they are under 21 and either:
- they are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen; or
- they are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but you are, or your spouse or civil partner is.
If you have applied to the Scheme, you will be able to ‘link’ your child’s application to yours, using the application number you got when you applied for yourself. You can do this at any time after you have applied. You can use your own email address in the application if your child does not have one. If your own application is successful, your child will get the same status as you. Your child can also apply for themselves.
If you presently hold permanent residence status in the UK, you are eligible to transfer to settled status. If however you hold indefinite leave to remain (ILR), there is no requirement to apply for settled status. However, if you do hold ILR, your status can be lost if you live outside the UK for two years consecutively, whereas settled status allows you to reside outside of the UK for five years consecutively, without the loss of your settled status.
If your application for settled or pre-settled status is successful, the Home Office will email you a link that you can use to view and prove your status. You will only get a physical document if you are from outside the EU and do not already have a biometric residence permit.
If your application is successful, you will be granted either settled or pre-settled status, depending on your length of residence in the UK. As explained in the previous question, you will be able prove your status through an online link.
If your application is refused, you may be able to apply for the decision to be reviewed. The process is called an ‘administrative review’. In certain circumstances other avenues of legal redress may be available and advice should be sought. You can also apply again at any time prior to the relevant deadline.
In relation to people and immigration, consider the following:
- Do you know how many EU and non-EU personnel you employ directly?
- Or how reliant is your business and your supply chain on labour from the EU?
It may be best to audit the present workforce and recruitment practices and develop strategies now for future recruitment.
- Have you conducted scenario planning to understand the risks and impacts on your business critical functions due to uncertainty in personnel?
- Or do you have a location strategy should your geographical footprint need to change?
- You should also ensure your ‘Right to Work’ checks are up to date and policies are kept under review.
- How mobile is your workforce?
- Or are you supporting your existing employees to secure their status in their current country of residence?
- If you currently recruit EU nationals, you should consider obtaining a Tier 2 sponsorship licence now. This will help to ensure you are prepared to quickly shift approach if necessary, come 31 January 2020.
You can take the following steps to prepare for a no-deal:
- Review the data mapping exercise you completed as part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance preparations. This should clearly show where the different data flows to and from your business take place. For tips on carrying out data mapping, see the GDPR data audit checklist
- Get familiar with your supply chains so you know how data moves across the organisation. Also, check where your data is stored. Is it stored in the cloud, and where are those servers and back-up servers based?
- If you have data sourced from within the EU or have a payroll provider based in Ireland, you need an audit trail showing how your business fully complies with GDPR, in the event of a query or wider investigation from the ICO.
- Look at your internal and external privacy policies and make sure these allow for data transparency. This will demonstrate that you understand how data flows internally and externally across your business. See more on privacy notices under GDPR
The Information Commissioner’s Office has developed an interactive tool to help you maintain the free flow of personal data into the UK from Europe, and if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
If you receive personal data into the UK from the EEA, the tool will help you:
- decide if standard contractual clauses (SCCs) can help you maintain the flow of data
- select the right SCCs
- understand the SCCs
- complete the SCCs
GDPR is an EU regulation and, in principle, it will no longer apply to the UK if we leave the EU without a deal. GDPR will still apply to your business, if you operate in Europe, offer goods or service to individuals in Europe, or monitor behaviour of individual in Europe.
It will also apply to any organisations in Europe who send personal data to you in the UK, so may need to help them decide how to transfer personal data to the UK, in line with GDPR, for example by implementing a safeguard under Article 46 of GDPR.
Watch our online video tutorial to find out how data transfer in your business will be affected post Brexit.
The UK Government is going to implement the UK GDPR, which will mirror the provisions of the EU GDPR. Although the UK will be a third country for the purposes of the EU GDPR, the same principles, rights and obligations will apply by the same virtue of the UK GDPR. The UK also has the Data Protection Act 2018, which supplements the EU GDPR.
The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018), which currently supplements and tailors the GDPR within the UK will continue to apply. It is important to note that the DPA 2018 does not mirror the GDPR. It simply supplements it, and in some instances makes the UK rules more stringent.
The provisions of the GDPR will be incorporated directly into UK law if we leave the EU without a deal, to sit alongside the DPA 2018. However, the UK will remain a third country for the purposes of the EU GDPR and this will affect data transfers coming into the UK from the EU.
The UK Government has said that transfers of data from the UK to the EEA will not be restricted. This is because the UK Government will continue to recognise the protection afforded to UK subjects when their personal data is transferred to the EU by virtue of the GDPR.
However, in the absence on an adequacy decision for the UK in a no-deal scenario, which will determine if the UK’s data protection regime is equivalent to the EU’s, data transfers from the EU into the UK will be restricted. This means an additional safeguard under Article 46 of the GDPR will need to be in place for these transfers to continue lawfully in a no-deal scenario.
The two safeguards are:
- binding corporate rules; or
- standard contractual clauses (SCCs).
If there is no safeguard applicable to your business, your next step may be to see if one of the exceptions under Article 49 of the GDPR would apply. However, these will only apply in limited circumstances and you should seek advice
EU standard contractual clauses (SCCs) are one of the safeguards under Article 46 of the GDPR and are currently the most frequent safeguard to enable cross-border data transfers.
SCCs are standard form contractual clauses approved by the European Commission that govern data transfers between the EU and a third country, which is what the UK will become in a no-deal scenario. SCCs ensure data subjects, whose personal data is transferred outside the EU, have adequate protection.
SCCs must be implemented in their entirety and cover the following data transfer relationships:
- data controller based in the EU transferring to a data processor based in a third country
- data controller based in the EU transferring to another data controller based in a third country
Find out more about the SCCs available from the European Commission
Yes, as data transfers to the United States (US) will continue in the same way as they currently do.
However, if your business is transferring data to a US-based organisation under the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework (Privacy Shield), this will no longer apply once the UK leaves the EU. However, the UK Government has stated it will continue to recognise the Privacy Shield.
Data transfers from the UK to US organisations that have signed up to the Privacy Shield can therefore continue, provided the US organisation updates its privacy commitment to include UK data transfers.
My business is UK-based and exports to the EU, but we do not have an EU subsidiary. Will I need an EU representative? Will an EU organisation exporting to the UK need to do the same?
On leaving the EU, there will be two GDPR’s - the EU GDPR and the UK GDPR and both will contain Article 27 in the regulation.
Article 27 requires UK-based companies not established in the EU, but monitor or process personal data of people within the EU, to appoint an EU-based representative to act as their point of contact for individuals and local data protection authorities.
This arrangement is reciprocal. An EU-based company without a subsidiary in the UK, targeting goods or services to people in the UK, will need to appoint a UK-based representative.
The Information Commissioner's Office has provided detailed guidance on European representatives
My business is not directly targeting people (living in the EU), but my products are supplied to the EU market through, for example, an online retailer. Do I still need an EU representative?
If your business is not directly targeting the EU market, you do not need to appoint an EU representative. For example, a manufacturer of specialist tools who sells tools in the EU, but does not do direct marketing, or process customer data, does not need to appoint a representative. However, if they were going to start direct marketing or marketing in trade publications in the EU, then that would trigger the need to appoint an EU representative.
The Information Commissioner's Office has provided detailed guidance on European representatives