New changes are happening all over the world — from adopting new business processes to nurturing social movements to adjusting to the global pandemic. And the much-talked-about Brexit deal is one of these major changes. Curious about what Brexit means for businesses in the UK and EU? In this article, we look at the different business-related areas that will feel the impacts of the new Brexit deal.
How is Brexit Affecting Business in the EU and UK
Companies and business owners across the EU and UK are worried about Brexit and business continuity. As the transition period comes to an end, many businesses in Britain and Europe are wondering, “how will Brexit affect my business?” From business travel to communication to new customs regulations, there are many ways the Brexit deal can impact your business processes. In this post, we discuss how Brexit will affect:
- Business Travel
- Working and Studying Abroad (Work Visas, Education, and Erasmus)
- Impact on Trade (Customs, Supply Chain, VAT Regime)
- Mobile Roaming and Calling Charges
- Online Services
Let’s get into the different ways that Brexit may affect businesses in the EU and United Kingdom.
1. Business Travel
One of the main areas that the new Brexit deal affects EU and UK companies is in regards to the new restrictions on business travel. Individuals traveling for work from the EU to the UK and vice versa have new regulations to keep in mind.
British travelers will face restrictions on their passports. For example, British travelers will need at least 6 months left on their passports to travel to the EU. While these travelers don’t need a visa to enter the EU, they will need travel authorization. At immigration, they may be questioned about the duration of their stay, returned bookings, financing plans, and so on. Conversely, national ID cards are no longer valid for European travelers entering Britain, except for particular cases. And EU travelers will need to go through customs checks at UK airports.
- Additionally, duty-free shopping will continue. However, there will be new allowances for the quantity of goods you can bring back to the United Kingdom.
- There is also a new set of rules and regulations to follow when driving abroad. UK licenses will no longer be recognized as the same as the EU. And British drivers driving in the EU may require an international driving permit.
- The EU will lose access to professional service providers (doctors, veterinarians, engineers, architects, etc.) from the UK. These professions will not be automatically recognized in Europe. And UK professionals with these qualifications will have to jump through regulations to get recognized.
- Financial services will also be affected. UK-registered and regulated banks have announced (and started making) plans to close accounts of citizens residing in the EU or EU economic area.
2. Working and Studying Abroad
With the new Brexit deal, working and studying abroad (between the UK and EU) has become more complicated. Since the Four Freedoms of the EU — freedom of movement of goods, capital, persons, and services — no longer apply to British citizens, they do not benefit from visa-less employment and education within the EU.
The UK will issue a new points-based immigration system that treats EU & non-EU citizens the same. With this new system, travelers from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland can travel to the UK for short trips without a visa. However, longer stays and employment will require an application under the new points-based system. As explained in TLDR News’ video on how Brexit will affect work visas, the points-based system requires applicants to accumulate a minimum of 70 points. Out of the 70 points, individuals applying must have a job offer (20 points), demonstrate a high skill level (20 points), and speak English (10 points) — these are mandatory. The remaining 20 points can be achieved through the other criteria as listed by the government.
Education and Erasmus
To study in any of the European countries, British citizens will require a visa from particular EU countries, if their courses run longer than 3 months. Additionally, they will no longer qualify for domestic fees when studying abroad. All of this makes going abroad for education more expensive.
Furthermore, British universities will no longer participate in the Erasmus program. This means that European students won’t be able to study temporarily in the UK through the program. And students who still want to pursue higher education in the UK will have to apply through the new points-based immigration system and deal with higher international fees.
3. Impact on Trade
While Britain was part of the EU, companies could buy and sell goods across EU borders without paying taxes. Additionally, there were no limits on the amount of items that could be traded. However, with the Brexit deal, a few changes come into effect:
Since exiting the EU Customs Union, Great Britain will longer enjoy the benefits of free trade, making the movement of goods across the EU and UK more difficult. Now, British importers and exporters (trading with Europe) are considered non-residents. Because of this, goods moving between the UK and EU now require customs declarations. However, these goods will not be subject to tariffs.
On the other hand, businesses that used to face competition from overseas (EU) companies will enjoy a competitive advantage. This is because UK customers will have to choose between expensive imports and cheaper domestic products.
Businesses can expect delays in their supply chain, including shipping and deliveries, due to border checks and queues. It is expected that the “EU would immediately implement tough new checks on agri-food products, with no grace period.” This is not good news for perishable goods as they may get caught up in these checks and queues.
UK will no longer be bound by the EU’s VAT regime. As a result, importers and customers receiving goods from the EU will be subject to VAT for imports. The British government might decide to change the system, including making new goods 0% VAT-rated. However, what exactly will happen in the UK related to the VAT regime is still not concretely decided.
4. Mobile Roaming and Calling Charges
Many are wondering if Brexit will bring roaming charges back to businesses and customers. More specifically, will Brexit mean that phone calls between the EU and UK are considered international?
While part of the EU, British phone carriers were subject to EU phone laws. Through these laws, people could call, text, and use data on the same terms in the United Kingdom and across Europe. In other words, they could use their data at no extra fees, even when within the EU. Unfortunately, these laws no longer apply to UK phone carriers. And carriers are not legally required to offer the same rates as they did before.
As of December 2020, Vodafone confirmed that they had no plans to bring back roaming charges. Other major operators — O2, EE, 3 — haven’t publicly confirmed that they will increase calling rates.
If roaming charges are brought back, businesses in and outside of Britain and the EU can use virtual phone numbers as an alternative. For example, an EU company can get a UK phone number to connect with local customers in the UK without worrying about roaming or international charges.
5. Online Services
Lastly, when within the EU, there was a legal guarantee that the UK would have access to online services. However, this guarantee is no longer valid. Individual providers will need to decide how to make adjustments and amend their provisions.
How Global Call Forwarding Can Help with Brexit
The Brexit deal has led to both victories and uncertainties for people of different sectors in the UK and EU societies. Global Call Forwarding can ease some of these concerns by providing businesses in the UK and EU with virtual phone numbers to help transition more effectively. You can sign up for a European virtual phone number or buy a toll free UK number on our website. Or, speak with our global specialists at 1 (888) 908 6171 to get a better understanding of how we can support your business during this change.