The UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019 is a possible outcome that would have a wide-ranging impact on your business. In order to prepare for this outcome, the REC has developed a checklist of 10 questions businesses need to be asking themselves with links to further advice and resources.
Have you looked at the Government’s advice?
The Government’s advice on preparing your business for Brexit can be accessed online here >>
Do you currently employ EU nationals?
If so, you can encourage them to sign up to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme – the Government has produced a toolkit for employers. EU citizens and their families who live in the UK before 31 October still have until 31 December 2020 to apply for settled status. However, given the uncertainty in how the UK immigration system will work in a no-deal scenario, we recommend EU citizens apply before 31 October 2019.
EU citizens who have settled status are able to demonstrate that they have permanent leave to remain. However, employers will not need to check this until at the earliest 1 January 2021.
Are you planning to employ EU nationals in the future?
If there is no-deal, the Government has announced that there will be a transitional EU immigration period from the day after the UK leaves the EU until 31 December 2020. In this period, EU citizens and their family members will be able to move and work to the UK as they do now. Right to work checks for employers of EU citizens will remain the same as they are now.
During this transition period, in a no-deal scenario, the Home Office will open a new voluntary immigration scheme, the European temporary leave to remain (Euro TLR) Scheme, which gives EU citizens the ability to stay in the UK for 36 months from the date Euro TLR is granted. If you recruit an EU citizen during this transition period who entered the UK after its exit from the EU and who is intending to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020, the Government has stated that they must have permission to stay granted either under the Euro TLR or under the standard immigration system. More information on this can be found on the Home Office website.
The Government intends to introduce a new immigration system from January 2021. They plan to introduce this no matter whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or no-deal. This new system will mean that the same immigration rules will apply to both EU citizens and non-EU citizens from 1 January 2021. This may result in less EU citizens deciding to come to work in the UK and recommend that you prepare for this. The Migration Advisory Committee is currently consulting on the immigration future system.
You can also find further information on our Brexit legal guide.
Have you identified your business’s international personal data flows? (i.e. where the personal data you process is coming form and going to)
Data flows that you will need to check include:
- If you do any trade in services with the EU, including to business partners but also outsourced functions i.e. HR, accounts, back office
- If you have European operations, including intra company transfers and to regional offices and branches
- Cloud services including if you have a cloud based CRM
In a no-deal scenario, the EU would treat the UK as a third country and not recognise the UK’s standards for handling personal data. UK companies would need to ensure that any transfers of personal data (internal or external) are in accordance with third country requirements. More information on how to comply with this can be found on the Information Commission Officers Website >>
Have you checked your legal position in terms of contracts, civil cases, and intellectual property?
Do you provide EEA staff into roles where they require professional qualifications?
The mutual recognition of professional qualifications we currently have with other EU member states will end. There will be changes to how services are regulated and how professional qualifications obtained in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are recognised. More information can be found on the Government’s website here. The EU Commission’s list of the professions that this will be relevant for can be found online here >>
Do you currently provide staff to the UK public sector through a Government framework?
Suppliers wishing to access UK contract opportunities from the UK public sector will need to access the new UK e-notification service. More information on public procurement can be found on the Government website here.
Have you thought about the impact on the wider sector that you operate in?
The Government has published Brexit guidance on their website. There is an option to filter this guidance by sector/business area on the top left of the page. You can also access our Legal guide for more specific guidance around international transfers.
Do you currently have any business dealings within the EU?
This section is for REC members who do business in the EU – you can find our full guidance here.
Do you work in other countries outside of the EU?
As a current member of the EU, the UK is party to EU international agreements with third countries, including 40 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The UK has been seeking continuity of these existing FTAs. If none is agreed before we leave without a deal, then the UK will trade with that country under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The Government’s progress in agreeing these can be found online here >>
If you operate in a country in which the UK currently trades with under the terms of EU trade agreements. As modern trade deals protect intellectual property, enhance digital trade, open procurement opportunities and enable data flows, no-deal will have an impact on your operations in this country. Government’s guidance on trading under WTO rules can be found online here >>