A quick guide on how retailers should prepare for Brexit

23 Oct 2020

The government has provided some general guidance for the retail industry on what to expect after 1st January 2021. We’ve pulled some of the key information together and summarised it here.

If you employ EU workers

A new immigration system will apply to people arriving on or after 1 January 2021.EU citizens who are resident in the UK 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.

Read the EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit here

Applying for skilled or unskilled work visas

There will be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 as a new immigration system will operate. For non-EU nationals, the EU exit will not affect the application process for work visas.

Read more about employing EU citizens in the UK here

Travelling to the EU

British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to have six months remaining validity on their passport and must not have a passport that is over 10 years old. Check your passport to see if you need to renew earlier than planned. There is a raft of advice on the link below relating to travel insurance, travelling with pets, data roaming and whether you need a visa or not.

Read more here

Driving in the EU

If you are driving your own vehicle or a hire vehicle in the EU, 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 one month prior to your trip.

Read more on transporting goods between the UK and EU here

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.

Read the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) action plan here

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), decide if you want to hire an import-export agent, or make the declarations yourself and contact the organisation that moves your goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out what information they need to make the declarations for your goods, or if you will need to make them yourself.

Get an EORI number here

Read more about using customs procedures here

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, however, be an impact on the extent to which UK consumers are protected when buying goods and services from the EU. 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.

Read more about consumer rights and business here


For more Brexit guidance and information, visit our Brexit Hub by clicking the button below. Alternatively, click here for Government advice for transitioning in the run up to the January deadline or click here for retail specific Government advice on how to prepare for Brexit.

Go to the Brexit Hub 

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