The UK’s withdrawal from the EU on 31 January fundamentally affects not only the UK’s relationship with the EU, but also has wide-ranging implications for business and individuals.
There are now only a few weeks remaining until 31 December 2020, at which point the current transition arrangements will end
That means there is just a short period of time remaining for businesses and individuals to prepare for the full impact of Brexit.
Our specialist solicitors can provide expert advice on the full range of legal considerations affecting businesses and individuals in preparing for Brexit.
Brexit has the clear potential to see major changes to some of the key tenets of the UK’s employment law. Our specialist solicitors can advise on these changes as and when they take place, helping to ensure that you always remain compliant with legal requirements and mitigating the chances of a costly dispute.
You may also be concerned about the immigration status of key employees beyond 31 December 2020, with the end of the free movement of people between the UK and the EU.
If you currently employ workers from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020, they must apply for settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021, if they have not already obtained it.
If you wish to employ people from outside the UK from 1 January 2021 who are not already here, you will need to be a Home Office licensed sponsor, offering a job at a required skill level equivalent to A Level and paying the higher of £25,600 a year or the ‘going rate’ for the job, unless an exception applies.
Our solicitors can provide comprehensive advice on securing settled status in the UK so that they can continue to live and work here.
From 1 January 2021, the process for importing and exporting goods will change.
In its latest guidance, the Government has laid out the principles for the ‘Core Model’, which relates to all goods imported and exported, regardless of which means of transport are used to move the goods.
The guidance, which is available here, covers the core process of:
- customs declarations
- customs duty
- import VAT
- safety and security declarations.
Under each of these headings, it sets out the actions that businesses should take now, as they will be required to follow these rules regardless of the outcome of the ongoing trade negotiations.
To help businesses adapt, HMRC will introduce the new border controls in the Core Model in three stages up until 1 July 2021. To help prepare for these changes, businesses should:
- Apply for an EORI number
- Prepare to pay or account for VAT on imported goods
- consider commercial arrangements and terms of trade
- determine the customs value of goods
- considering how customs declarations to HMRC systems will be made and the use of a customs intermediary.
Business in certain industries may also need to check:
- What export licences or certificates they require
- The marking, labelling and marketing standards for food, plant seeds and manufactured goods
- The rules for exporting or importing alcohol, tobacco and certain oils
To help with this process the Government has produced a step by step checklist for importers and exporters, which can be found below:
If your business is based in the EU, there may be advantages in establishing a UK Company or Subsidiary from which to trade in the UK.
Our expert team has a strong track record of helping businesses and entrepreneurs establish Companies and Subsidiaries in the UK and can guide you through each step of the process.
One of the impacts of Brexit that has been less widely recognised is the potential need to amend contractual documentation to take account of the fact that the UK is no longer a member of the EU.
Certain contracts may be based on the assumption that the UK remains a member of the EU for the duration of the contract term.
This is most likely to be the case if you trade with a large number of suppliers or customers in the EU.
Our team regularly assist you in all aspects of contract negotiation and drafting, as well as an audit of your current contractual documentation to assess the possible impact of the end of the transition period.
If you are an EU citizen, you will continue to be free to buy and own residential and commercial property in the UK following Brexit, although owning property will not in and of itself provide an automatic right to live in the UK. You will also still be able to profit from rental income.
There are some potential challenges that could arise from tax and finance considerations and our experienced solicitors are ready to help you mitigate these, in conjunction with other professional advisers.
In circumstances where family matters have cross-border aspects, including where you or another party is an EU citizen, the UK’s departure from the EU may make them more difficult to resolve, primarily as a consequence of disputes over the jurisdiction in which a case should be heard.
Our team of family law specialists are experienced in assisting with family matters where considerations around the jurisdiction in which a matter should be heard arise and can advise on aspects of family law following the end of the Brexit transition period.
If you have assets in more than one country, you should seek advice from a solicitor with experience of drafting cross-bored Wills to ensure that your Will takes account properly of the complex rules at play.
Our team has considerable experience in preparing cross-border Wills and can advise on matters at any stage.
Importantly, if Brexit leads to a significant change in your circumstances or those of your business, it is especially important to revisit your cross-border Will to ensure it is up to date.
For advice on any of the legal considerations arising from Brexit, please contact us today.
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