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As eyes turn to marketing for answers, how does the UK leaving the EU really impact business?

February 2021 (additional links added March 2021)

The UK has left the EU and a trade deal has been agreed. In fact, it’s the first free trade agreement the EU has ever reached based on zero tariffs and zero quotas. For many businesses there are major changes ranging from the obvious export and import complications and changing tariffs to how data is used, stored and processed and how staff are hired or retained from across the EU.

Working with the Cabinet Office, The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has developed this article to provide an overview of some of the key factors marketers need to know to continue to operate effectively. The article is designed to work as a resource guide featuring advice, useful tools and key contacts to ensure marketing has the answers to the questions the board could ask of it.

Do marketers need to do anything?

  • Yes, they do. The new rules are here, bringing about a series of changes and opportunities for which we all need to adapt.
  • The best way to find out what you need to do is to visit gov.uk/transition and use the Brexit checker tool to get a personalised list of actions bespoke for your business.
What actions do I need to advise my board on, in order to adjust to the new rules?

Some of the key actions include:

  • Making sure you are able to travel to the EU and EFTA states, for example by checking your passport, getting travel insurance that covers your healthcare and checking you have the right driving documents.
  • Making sure your business is ready to export or import from/to the EU, for example by getting an EORI number or registering with the relevant Customs Authority.
  • Key actions that businesses and individuals need to take can be found on gov.uk/transition.

From a marketing/business point of view, does my board have to do anything specific?

To ensure a continued flow of people, data, goods and services between the UK and the EU, the actions are required to undertake include:

  • If you sell goods to the EU you must adjust to the new customs procedures.
  • If you travel to the EU for work purposes you will need to check if you need a visa or work permit and apply if necessary.
  • If you employ overseas nationals you must be a Home Office licenced sponsor under the UK’s new points-based immigration system.
  • If you are a UK business or organisation that receives personal data from the EU for business use, you may need to take action on data protection.
  • You may need to have your UK professional qualification officially recognised if you want to work in a regulated profession in the EEA or in Switzerland.

Marketing and business personnel

Will I be able to hire EU nationals to join my marketing team in the future, and under what conditions?

  • Yes -but the way you hire from the EU has changed. Free movement has ended and the UK has introduced a new points-based immigration system.
  • If you want to hire anyone from outside the UK you must be a Home Office licenced sponsor. This includes recruiting people from the EU.
  • Anyone coming to the UK to work will need a job offer from a licenced sponsor in advance and will need to meet certain skills and salary criteria.
  • The new system doesn’t apply when hiring Irish citizens, or EU citizens eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Find out more at uk/hiringfromtheEU and here.

Businesses and marketing teams that already employ EU citizens living in the UK should be aware that:

  • There are new requirements for EU citizens living and working in the UK. EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK before 31 December 2020 can apply with their family to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021. There is an online tool that will let you know what you need to do and when. 

How will my company continue to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

  • If you move goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland check the guidance and find help
    and support here.
  • The UK Government has launched a free-to-use Trader Support Service which will help
    businesses and traders prepare for any changes that will affect your business if you move goods into Northern Ireland: Register for the Trader Support Service.
  • The Movement Assistance Scheme will help businesses meet new requirements for moving animals, plants and associated products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. This includes advice to businesses through a dedicated helpline and means traders will not need to pay certification costs: Get support for your business.

My business is primarily based in the EU -what do I need to do?

  • If you run an EU-based business, you need to check the new rules and adjust to the changes now in place so that you can continue trading with the UK.
  • Rules are changing and there will be border requirements placed on the movement of goods between the EU and UK.
  • Check the guidance and find help and support at gov.uk/eubusiness.

Are all the actions that businesses and marketers need to take online on GOV.UK?

  • Yes, all the key actions can be found via gov.uk/transition.
  • Here, you can complete the ‘Brexit Checker tool’, find out actions to take and register for updates. Additional guidance may be provided later in the year.

I’ve already carried out some changes, how do I know if these are still relevant?

  • The Government updates its guidance on a regular basis. To ensure you know what’s new go to gov.uk/transition, use the Brexit Checker tool to make sure you are registered for updates.

What support is available?

The best place to get support and information on the new rules is at: gov.uk/transition, which includes:

  • A Brexit Checker Tool so businesses can get personalised results about the specific actions they need to take.
  • A live list of webinars, by sector where businesses can sign up to engage with experts.

Additional key Government advice:

  • The Border Operating Model is a guide to how the border will work with the EU after the Transition Period. See the ‘Guide to changes at the border’ for a summary.
  • Businesses can sign up to Business Readiness bulletins produced by BEIS here.
  • Register to access video explainers on doing business with Europe.

There are also a number of other publications, which marketers may find useful:

  • The Institute for Government has published an explainer on the UK-EU future relationship here.
  • The British Chambers of Commerce has published guidance on changes to how the UK will trade from January 2021 here.
  • The Federation of Small Business has published guidance for small businesses here.
  • The Institute of Directors has a designated hub on Navigating Brexit for Business here.
  • Make UK has published guidance for manufacturers here.
  • The Devolved Administrations have also published their own guidance on the UK’s Exit from the EU:
    Northern Ireland

Advice for businesses and marketing teams that transfer data between the UK and the EU:

  • Be prepared on data protection and data transfers.
  • If your business or organisation receives personal data from the EU/EEA, you must check the current guidance on lawfully continuing to receive personal data such as names, addresses or payroll details from organisations in the EU or EEA. More information can be found here.

Business Travel:

Business/marketing travellers may need to apply for a visa, work permit or other documentation before travelling to the EU / EEA / Switzerland.

If you plan to stay longer than 90 days in a 180 day period or are carrying out activities not covered by a country’s visa-waiver list, you may need a visa, work permit or other documentation. Entry requirements vary and you should visit the specific country guides and the EU Immigration Portal to find out entry requirements for the country/countries you are travelling to and how to apply for a visa and/or work permit, if needed.

Business travel includes activities such as travelling for meetings and conferences, providing services (even with a charity), and touring art or music. Find out more here.

There are also new rules on travel to Europe. Other things you may need to do before you travel include:

  • Check the validity of your passport -you may need to renew it even if it is still in date. Use the passport checker tool
  • Check where your Global or European Health Insurance Card is valid and get travel insurance
    that covers your needs. 
  • Check you have the right driving documents -UK motorists are required to obtain a Green
    Card from their insurer and display a GB sticker on their vehicle.
  • Check roaming policies with your mobile provider before travelling. For more information on travel to Europe, click here.

Businesses or marketing teams that deliver services between the UK and the EU:

  • Make sure your EU-qualified staff can continue to provide professional services to clients in
    the UK by ensuring their professional qualification(s) are recognised by the relevant regulatory or professional body in the UK. Find out more here.
  • To continue to practise or service clients in the EU, you will need to ensure your UK qualifications are recognised by the relevant EU regulatory or professional body. You will need to do this even if you are providing short-term or occasional professional services.
  • Where a qualification has already been recognised by the relevant regulator in the EEA or Switzerland, you should make sure you understand the terms of the recognition decision by checking with that regulator. Find out more here.  

Businesses that import and export goods:

  • Check the new rules on importing and exporting goods between the EU and Great Britain.
    Different rules apply in Northern Ireland.
  • To continue trading with the EU, you will need to follow new rules for importing and exporting, including changes to customs processes and licensing. Before you attempt to move your goods, you will need to:
  • Get ready to make customs declarations -these are now needed for all exports from the UK and if you’re importing controlled goods. If you import goods that are not controlled, you may be able to delay making your declarations for up to six months. There is a step-by-step guide to help with exports and a step-by-step guide to help with imports.

Get expert help –it is recommended you get a contract in place as soon as you can with a customs intermediary like a freight forwarder or customs broker. This is especially important if you’re exporting or importing controlled goods, as you will not be able to delay your declarations.

Make sure that you know how to classify your goods and how you will evidence their origin, your customs intermediary will also be able to help you ensure your goods are classified correctly. If you do not classify your goods correctly or if you do not accurately record the origin of the goods in your customs declaration, you may be charged the wrong amount of tax or duty. If you choose not to hire an intermediary, you will need to do this yourself.

Businesses who move goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland:

On 1st January, the Northern Ireland Protocol came into force. There will be special provisions which Northern Ireland Protocol guidance available here.

If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the free-to-use Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes linked to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Sign up online.

For the latest Brexit advice and guidance, click here.

Useful numbers:

Borders (Importing and exporting)
• Customs declarations, simplified customs procedures, duties and tariffs: 0300 322 9434
• Trader import and export licences and certificates of free sale: 03300 41650 0
• For exporting food, drink and agricultural products: 0300 020 0301
• Import and export of timber: 0300 067 5155
• Plants and plant products: 0300 1000 313
• Importing and exporting of waste: 03708 506 506
• Vehicles enquiries: 0300 790 6802
• Driving licences and International driving permits: 0300 790 6802
• Importing and exporting vehicle and trailer registration: 0300 790 6802
• Operator licence and permits: 0300 790 6801
• Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC): 0300 790 6801

• Business support helpline (England): 0800 998 1098
• Find Business Support Scotland helpline: 0300 303 0660
• Business Wales helpline: 0300 060 3000
• Invest Northern Ireland helpline: 0800 181 4422
• Regulation of manufactured goods: 0121 345 1201
• CE / UKCA marking: 0121 345 1201
• Regulation of medicines and medical devices: 020 3080 6000
• Supply of medicinal products: 0800 915 9964
• European Timber Regulations: 0300 067 4000
• Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Regulation: 0300 067 4000

• EU Emissions Trading System, Allowances and Carbon Emissions, UK Energy Markets, Single
Electricity Market, Civil Nuclear and Electricity Suppliers and System s: 020 7215 5000

• Fish Exports, Catch Certificates, Processing Statements and Prior Notification or Pre Landing
Declarations: 0330 159 1989

• Exporting of Equines and Import/Export of Animals, Endangered Species and Animal
Products: 0300 020 0301

Data and Intellectual Property
• Intellectual Property Office 0300 300 2000
• Information Commissioner's Office 0303 123 1113
• Consumer Rights: 0808 223 1133 (Welsh Language option: 0808 223 1144

• Funding by the EU, HMG Guarantee for EU Funds, Horizon 2020, Research Fund for Coat and
Steel, COSME, Nuclear Fission, Fusion 4 Energy, EUROFusion and Connecting Europe Facility
for Energy: 020 7215 5000

• Department for Education helpline: 0370 000 2288
• Home Office helpline: 0300 790 6268
• Department for International Trade Brexit Enquiry Service: 0300 123 7379