How to prepare your business for Brexit

There are a few things you can do now to prepare your business for the UK's departure from the EU.

The checklist below shows the key areas in which you should consider possible changes and guides that can help you plan before it is too late.

If you have any questions, please contact our expert Brexit solicitors and receive a free no-obligation 15-minute legal consultation.

Employment

 
  • Have you provided your employees with information on the EU Settlement Scheme?

Remember that between the date of Brexit and 1 January 2021, EU citizens can enter the UK for up to 3 months to work, visit or study, without needing a visa. If they wish to stay longer than 3 months, individuals will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain to stay for up to 36 months.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families 

  • Have you considered how Brexit will impact your UK employees travelling for work within the EU?

The European Commission is proposing to grant UK citizens visa-free travel in the EU for business meetings, training, sports/cultural events and short-term study for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. A visa or permit from each country will be required if this limit will be exceeded. There will also be changes to driving, passports and healthcare.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit

  • Are you ensuring there is no xenophobia or harassment linked to Brexit in your workplace?

It is advisable for employers to issue a statement reminding employees of their harassment and bullying policies, and stating that there is a zero-tolerance policy to all forms of discrimination.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/discrimination-your-rights

Brexit FAQs about Employment Law

Trade, exporting and importing

 
  • Have you registered for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number?

You will require an EORI number to continue trading with the EU in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. If you are a VAT registered company, you will be automatically allocated an EORI number. If you are not VAT registered, you can apply for an EORI number here: https://www.gov.uk/eori 

  • Do you import animals and/or animal products from non-EU countries?

If so, you will need to report these through the UK’s new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS).

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-animals-animal-products-and-high-risk-food-and-feed-not-of-animal-origin-if-the-UK-leaves-the-EU-with-no-deal 

  • Are you continuing to notify EU imports through the TRACES EU import notification system?

The UK will continue to use TRACES until further notice, and so current processes for notifying authorities of imports should continue.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-traces-to-trade-in-animals-and-animal-products 

  • Do you have your customs documentation in order?

If you have only traded within the EU before, your business must start completing customs paperwork.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/customs-procedures-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal 

  • Have you registered for the Transitional Simplified Procedures for customs?

This will provide an easier process for imports for one year, in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-for-simplified-import-procedures-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal 

  • Have you checked export and import tariffs which will be applicable to your business?

For more information, please visit: https://www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/sections

Brexit FAQs about trade, exporting & importing

Contracts, NDAs and GDPR

 
  • Have you started a review of your contracts to determine if they are relevant / continue to operate, post Brexit?

Is Brexit a ‘force majeure’ event, or do your contracts refer to the UK being a member state of the EU? Does EU regulation applicable to your contracts?

  • Do your contracts need to be updated to reflect the fact that you are now an international importer or exporter?
  • Do you transfer personal data outside the UK?

If so, you should consider putting in place additional safeguards (such as standard contractual clauses) to govern the transfer of personal data (assuming that, if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the UK won’t yet have been determined as adequate under data protection rules). The UK Government has published guidance for using personal data after Brexit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-personal-data-after-brexit 

  • Have you reviewed the Information Commissioner’s Office checklist of steps to take to prepare for data protection compliance following Brexit?

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/2553958/leaving-the-eu-six-steps-to-take.pdf

Brexit FAQs about Contracts, NDAs and GDPR

Business regulation

 
  • Have you considered new regulations and standards that will apply to the trade of goods across the EU?

If there is a ‘no deal Brexit’, the EU will no longer recognise UK regulatory compliance activity for goods sold in the EU. Goods will have to be approved for trade by a UK approved body.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/manufactured-goods-regulatory-requirements-after-brexit

  • Have you considered the UK Government guidance on regulation for specific sectors, for information on how your business may be impacted by changes in regulation?

This will impact any sector which is currently regulated by EU regulation, including the chemicals sector, financial services, aviation, automotive, etc.

For more information, please visit: https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/page/brexit/business-brexit-checklist/sectors

  • Have you reviewed all your current intellectual property rights, and made provision for ‘deal’ and ‘no deal’ scenarios?

In a ‘deal’ scenario, European Union and UK trademarks will continue to be recognised across the UK and EU. In a ‘no deal’ scenario, you may need to consider registering your UK trademarks in each of the European countries where it may be used. Your EU trademarks will automatically convert to a UK equivalent following Brexit.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ip-and-brexit-the-facts/ip-and-brexit 

  • Have you considered UK Government guidance on copyright protection following Brexit?

The UK and the EU are members of international treaties regarding copyright, and these will be unaffected by Brexit.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/copyright-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/copyright-if-theres-no-brexit-deal 

  • Have you considered UK Government guidance on patents following Brexit?

Any existing rights and licences in force in the UK will remain in force automatically after the UK leaves the EU, and no action is required from the patent holder.

For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/patents-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/patents-if-theres-no-brexit-deal 

Brexit FAQs about Business Regulations

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