EU transition business advice
Changes ahead: Act now
The UK has left the EU and new rules for business with the EU start in January 2021. Our new relationship will involve a series of guaranteed changes and opportunities for businesses.
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.
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.
Check an HGV is ready to cross the border (Kent Access Permit)
From 1 January 2021, HGV drivers must ensure they have the right documents for EU import controls and must have a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to travel through Kent to the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel and on to the EU.
Apply online for a permit Check an HGV is ready to cross the border (Kent Access Permit) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
This service is also available in other European languages.
The driver could be stopped and fined up to £300 for entering Kent without having a Kent Access Permit, or for making false declarations when travelling to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel.
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 have tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19) up to 72 hours before you cross the border into France.
Haulier advice on site locations: Haulier advice site locations - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Use the simple checker tool on GOV.UK/transition now for a personalised summary of the actions you need to take.
Free webinars for businesses
Sign up now to a free government webinar to find out what your business needs to do to prepare for new rules from January 2021.
Subscribe to business bulletin
Keep up to date with the latest transition news from government by subscribing to this business bulletin.
Follow these social media channels
Twitter - @bizsupportgovuk
LinkedIn - Business Support
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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 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.
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.
Further information sources
More advice for businesses can be found on the Kent and Medway Growth Hub website.