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EU exit – did you read this letter?

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma has written a letter to businesses in the professional services sector. The letter (available in English and Welsh) provides tailored advice on what key actions businesses must take after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

The UK government confirmed earlier this year that it would neither accept nor seek any extension to the transition period and the EU has formally accepted this position. This means that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020. At the time of writing, no trade deal has been agreed with the EU although negotiations to reach an agreement with the EU appear to be continuing into the 11th hour.

We have summarised the main headings in the letter below:

1. Get your professional qualifications recognised by EU regulators to be able to practise or service clients in the EU.

Starting the process to get your professional qualifications recognised by EU regulators by 31 December 2020 may help you to practise your profession (e.g. accountancy, engineering) in the EU.

2. Check if a visa or work permit is required to travel to the EU for work purposes and apply if necessary.

You may face delays or refusal at the border when travelling for business if you do not comply with the immigration requirements of the EU27 if travelling from 1 January 2021.

3. Be prepared on data protection and data transfers.

Your business may not be able to legally receive personal data from the European Economic Area (EEA) from 1 January 2021 if you have not put alternative safeguards in place to cover EU to UK personal data flows.

4. If you are planning to recruit from overseas from 1 January 2021, you will need to register as a licensed visa sponsor.

You may not be able to legally hire people from outside the UK if you do not have a licence. New employees from outside the UK will also need to meet new job, salary and language requirements. Irish citizens and those eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme are not affected.

The letter also reminds readers that webinars providing a range of support are available at: transition-webinars.

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