Transition advice for businesses
The UK is leaving the single market and customs union at the end of the year, so there will be steps that your business needs to take regardless of the outcome of negotiations.
To get a personalised checklist for your business, answer a few short questions on the UK Government’s transition web page. It will help you understand how things may change on 1 January 2021 and what you can do to get ready.
Given Kent’s proximity to continental Europe, 2 areas of particular interest to Kent businesses are:
Importing and exporting goods
From 1 January 2021, the process for importing and exporting goods will change and your business needs to be ready.
If you don't comply with the new rules, your goods could be turned away at the border and your business could incur substantial costs if the goods have to be detained, relabelled, rechecked, tested or destroyed, on top of the loss of trade and failure to meet your contractual obligations.
To meet the new rules you must:
- appoint an authorised EU representative - Manufacturers in non-EU countries who wish to sell their products in the EU must appoint an authorised representative established in the EU to act on their behalf. Find out how to appoint an EU-recognised notified body on the GOV.UK website.
- correctly label your goods - Most goods that are exported to the EU need specific labelling in the right language. Find out more about the EU labelling and packaging requirements on the European Commission website.
- meet EU product safety requirements - As an exporter, you are responsible for designing and manufacturing products that meet all applicable safety requirements, including carrying out the required conformity assessment procedure. Any testing required by EU legislation must use EU notified bodies. UK Tests Houses will not meet these requirements after 31 December 2020. Certificates will also need to be in the language of the member state where they will be placed on the market. Find out more about conformity assessments on the European Commission website.
Customs authorities in the EU can refuse entry of any goods not meeting these requirements. They can also suspend the release of goods which may pose a serious risk to health or safety or which are not accompanied by the required documentation. Find out more about the technical requirements of trading with the EU.
If your business trades with the EU you'll need to register online for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
You should also decide how you want to make customs declarations and whether you need to get someone to deal with customs for you.
Employing EU citizens
Employing people from outside the UK from 1 January 2021
The way you hire from the EU is changing. From 1 January 2021, you will need to register as a licensed sponsor to hire eligible people from outside the UK. Find out more about the sponsorship process on GOV.UK.
A new points-based immigration system is being introduced which will bring job, salary and language requirements that will change the way you hire from the EU. Find out more about the new points-based immigration system on GOV.UK.
EU citizens you already employ
The new system will not apply to EU employees already working for you in the UK.
EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Those eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme must apply by 30 June 2021.