Contact us | Membership Enquiries 0800 028 0245 | Search

What might Brexit mean for members?

The government has provided some general guidance for the retail industry on what to expect after 29 March. Some points require action now, whether we end up with a deal or no-deal Brexit.

If you employ EU workers

If the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit deal, EU citizens who are resident in the UK before 29 March 2019 will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to be awarded settled or pre-settled status, which will permit them to continue to live, work and study in the UK. Applications must be made by 31 December 2020.

Read more at gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-employer-toolkit

Applying for skilled or unskilled work visas

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system will operate. For non-EU nationals, the EU exit will not affect the application process for work visas.

Travelling to the EU

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to have six months remaining validity on their passport, not including any extra months added to a 10-year passport if it was renewed early. Check your passport to see if you need to renew earlier than planned.

Driving in the EU

If you are driving your own vehicle or a hire vehicle in the EU in a no-deal scenario, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a Motor Insurance Green Card to continue to drive. IDPs are available from the Post Office for £5.50. To obtain a Motor Insurance Green Card, contact your vehicle insurer.

Get more information at gov.uk/euexitdriving

Data protection

You need to continue to follow data protection law. If you operate across the EU or exchange personal data with organisations in the EEA, there may be changes that you need to make before the UK leaves. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has a plan of action here: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/2614365/leaving-the-eu-6-steps-to-take-final.pdf

If you import and export

At the UK border there will be changes to UK-EU trade, including customs, trade tariffs and VAT, safety and security for goods, document requirements, vehicle standards and controlled products. To keep your products moving across the border, you’ll need to register for an EORI number (UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification number). More details can be found here: gov.uk/guidance/get-a-uk-eori-number-to-trade-within-the-eu

Consumer rights

The government has taken steps to ensure that UK consumers will retain the protections they currently have when buying from UK businesses. This means making certain changes in UK legislation through the EU Withdrawal Act to ensure that the law operates effectively after exit.

There may be an impact on the extent to which UK consumers are protected when buying goods and services from the EU. The laws of those states are similar but may differ in some areas to UK law. UK consumers will no longer be able to use the UK courts effectively to seek redress from EU-based traders, and if a UK court does make a judgement, the enforcement of that judgement will be more difficult.

In addition, there will no longer be reciprocal obligations on the UK or EU member states to investigate breaches of consumer laws or take forward enforcement actions. The government has taken steps to ensure that we will still be able to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution process in the same way when buying and selling in the UK.

Here we’ve summarised some of the government’s current advice, but please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-retail-sector-and-preparing-for-eu-exit or https://www.gov.uk/business-uk-leaving-eu for specific information for your sector.

We will continue to update the Bira website regularly with new developments.