EU exit business advice
New rules: Act now
The UK has now left the single market and customs union and there are steps that your business needs to take to meet the new rules.
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, because we have left the single market and customs union.
Use the simple checker tool on GOV.UK/transition now for a personalised summary of the actions you need to take.
Covid-19 travel advice
Before travelling abroad via Eurotunnel or port of Dover please check the latest travel guidance to ensure you are following the latest rules, restrictions and travel requirements.
Freight (HGV) traffic
You must take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test before you leave the UK for some countries – check which countries require them and how to get a free test on the gov.uk
Haulier advice on test site locations: Haulier advice site locations - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Free webinars for businesses
Sign up now to a free government webinar to find out what changes your business needs to make from January 2021.
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Changes at the end of the transition
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 changed..
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.
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 the gov.uk website.
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 the gov.uk website.
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.
The deadline for most people to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021.
If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you can still apply if you or a family member were living in the UK by 31 December 2020. You must also either:
meet one of the criteria for a later deadline to apply
have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by 30 June 2021
Brexit support fund
The UK Government has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support fund to help small businesses with changes to trade rules with the EU.
Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support for importing and exporting.
The fund will help businesses to prepare for the implementation of import controls which come into force.
Further information sources
More advice for businesses can be found on the Kent and Medway Growth Hub website.