There is still a lot we don’t know about Brexit. A no-deal scenario is still possible. When the UK will finally leave the EU is also still unclear and even what will happen then is anyone’s guess.
We all read tens of thousands of words’ worth of content on what will happen to businesses after Brexit, how to prepare for it, how it will impact trade and so on… Unfortunately, a lot of it is speculation and click-bait.
That’s why we built the following To-Do List.
It contains 6 steps you should definitely take to get ready for Brexit (or not! most of these are just useful!). Whatever the hell happens: deal or no-deal, October 31st or later – just make sure you do these 6 simple things and you’re sorted!
1. If you trade any goods with the EU, get an EORI Number
If you import goods from (or export them to) the EU, you will need an EORI number to continue doing so after Brexit.
An Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) Number can be easily requested at www.gov.uk/eori. One has already been issued if your business is VAT-registered, you can retrieve yours at www.gov.uk/eori.
If you import from the EU, you even have the chance to register for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) from the gov.uk website. This should help you set up custom procedures efficiently, especially if you’re new to them.
2. Draft contracts to keep receiving data from the EEA
Most companies need personal data to operate, this includes customers’ names, addresses and email addresses.
While the UK will still adopt GDPR after Brexit, most companies wishing to receive and send data from or to the EEA, will have to do so under EU-approved terms.
These can be easily included within contracts between the parties exchanging data by using something known as Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs). This tool from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) makes it very easy to check which ones apply to you.
3. Make your staff aware of the EU Settlement Scheme
Citizens of the EU, EEA (including Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland who are resident in the UK can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
Obtaining Settled or Pre-Settled status will allow them to secure their rights (including the right to work) in the UK after 31 December 2020, which is the deadline to apply for the Scheme.
The gov.uk website offers an Employer Toolkit for you to familiarise with the scheme and prompt your EEA/Swiss employees to apply.
4. If you operate in a EEA country, check the local regulations
While the UK was part of the European Union, British companies operating in other EU countries were treated as if they were local. That will cease to be the case after the UK leaves the Union.
If your business operates in any EU/EEA country or in Switzerland, make sure you check local regulations in order to continue operating legally without major disruptions.
5. If you applied – or planned to apply – for EU funding, check the fund’s guidance
The Government reassured that UK companies will continue to receive EU-backed funding over their projects’ lifetimes, if they have successfully bid for EU-funded programmes.
That includes all applications made until the end of 2020, while payments can extend beyond that deadline. Details vary from fund to fund, so if this applies to you, it’s worth it to check with the specific fund’s guidance.
6. Make sure your staff’s professional qualifications are recognised internationally
If any of your employees work in a regulated profession, you need to make sure that their qualification (be it UK or EEA), is recognised by the relevant regulator in the country where they exercise their profession.