Post Election Update – Brexit – Imports, living & working in the UK

Please excuse this global e-mail. I have written it because, following yesterday’s UK election, it now looks likely that “Brexit Day”, the day that the UK will leave the EU, will actually happen on the 31 January 2020. Following this there will be a “transitional period that lasts until at least 31 December 2020. What happens on this day will depend on whether the UK reaches a new agreement, or not, with Europe. If it doesn’t, and the UK crashes out of Europe, a number of things will change. I have written this short note to summarise a few of the points that may impact you or that you may be concerned about.

Please remember that we work closely with a number of freight forwarding agents, visa specialists, relocation experts and other people that can help you, should you need. If you want to discuss matters, need any more information or want an introduction please send an e-mail to me or, or just give us a call.

Transitional period

If the UK parliament ratifies the withdrawal agreement (which it looks likely that they will) there is a transitional period that will last at least till 31 December 2020. During this period, all EU rules and regulations will continue to apply to the UK. So, virtually nothing will change. 

If the UK crashes out – the end of “Free Movement of Trade” between the UK and EU

At the moment, goods moving between the UK and EU aren’t usually subject to customs formalities. If the UK crashes out of Europe at the end of the transitional period this changes and goods entering or leaving the UK will need clear customs. What this means will depend on the type of goods and how they are imported (air/sea/mail etc).

The government has produced a lot of advice that you can find here. Below I have summarised what I consider to be most important.

There are two alternative procedures for goods coming into the UK from the EU: Standard Import Procedures and Simplified Import Procedures. Simplified Import Procedures are also known as Transitional Simplified Procedures or TSP.

The Government has automatically enrolled UK based businesses that import goods into the UK for TSP. If this applies to you, then you will have received a letter that has a TSP number on it. However, to use TSP you need to apply to HMRC for a Duty Deferral Account before you import goods.

Once you are registered for TSP and have a Duty Deferment Account the import procedure is simple. You need to:

  • record your import in your own records
  • provide your haulier with your EORI number
  • update your records when the goods arrive in the UK
  • submit your customs declaration by the 4th working day of the next month
  • pay your import duty and VAT (you can delay this up to 6 months)

You can work out the VAT & customs yourself or ask us or ask a freight forwarding agent to work it out for you. To find the duty that you need to pay go to and click on Preferential tariffs.

Europeans living & working in the UK

As you know, the UK and EU have negotiated the Withdrawal Agreement. Assuming this is ratified (which it probably will be) the following points apply.

Right to continue to live in the UK

The rights of EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU, are protected by the Agreement. If you are from the EU and have lived in the UK permanently for 5 years by the end of the transition period (currently December 31, 2020) then you will be able to continue to reside in the UK permanently.

If, by the end of the transition period you haven’t lived in the UK for five years you will still be able to acquire the right to permanent residency by completing five years living in the UK, as long as you are legally resident by the end of the transition period. This right can only be lost if you leave the country for a period of more than five years.

Right to continue to work in the UK

In general, you will have the same rights working in the UK as you have now, whether you are employed or self-employed. The agreement enshrines the principle of equal treatment between UK and EU citizens resident in each other’s territories, in areas including employment, housing and education.

Recognition of professional qualifications

For as long as the Withdrawal Agreement applies the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations remain unchanged. So, EU Professional qualifications should continue to be recognised.

Traveling to and from the UK

During the transition period, as long as you hold a valid passport or national identity card from issued by your country within the EU. After the transition period family members who want to join you in the UK may need a visa.

Healthcare and the NHS

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, EU nationals who reside in the UK will have access to the UK healthcare system.

Please excuse this global e-mail. I have written it bec […]

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