Government: firms ‘should act now on Brexit’

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Government warns businesses to prepare for Brexit before it's too late
Government warns businesses to prepare for Brexit before it's too late

Related tags Brexit

The Government has outlined actions that will need to be implemented by businesses before 2021, whether the UK ends up with a Canadian or Australian style deal with the EU.

This includes:

  • preparation for new customs procedures;
  • updating visas or work permits if travelling to the EU;
  • getting to grips with a new immigration system;
  • applying to become a Home Office sponsor if hiring from outside the UK;
  • and ensuring the flow of personal data from the EU remains legal.

Businesses can get a personalised summary of the actions they need to take by using an online tool provided by the Government.

New start for the UK

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “With fewer than 75 days until the end of the transition period, businesses must act now to ensure they are ready for the UK’s new start as an independent trading nation once more. There will be no extension to the transition period, so there is no time to waste.

“Businesses have a crucial role to play in ensuring a smooth transition, and the Government will be there to support them through this change every step of the way.”

The calls follow warnings from Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week that negotiations for a no-deal Brexit had broken down. ​He said if EU negotiators did not budge, the UK would be likely to be adopting a trade deal with the EU similar to the one employed by Australia from 1 January next year.

Bad move for UK food

The prospect of a no-deal Brexit was met with derision by the food and drink industry, with trade bodies warning the move was bad for food security, bad for business and bad for consumers.

Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright urged both sides to find a way past the current impasse, or risk consumers paying a heavy price. Dominic Watkins from law firm DWF said announcement didn’t leave enough time for businesses to prepare.

Meanwhile, the Government stands accused of being unprepared for Brexit​ and a second wave of the novel coronavirus by a parliamentary committee report as new lockdown regulations threaten to force suppliers to cease operations.

Preparations for end of transition period

  • If you sell goods to the EU you must prepare for new customs procedures. Visit GOV.UK​ to check duties and customs procedures for exporting your goods worldwide from 1 January 2021.
  • 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. From 1 January 2021, if you want to hire anyone from outside the UK, including from the EU, you must be a Home Office licenced sponsor. 
  • 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. 

Related topics Brexit Operations

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