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Brexit – The “B Word” is Back in Play

B for Brexit

Friday, December 4, 2020

Keeping an eye on what we need to monitor and manage as Brexit deadlines loom large on the horizon.

It’s true, the “B” word has started to appear again after the Oxford English Dictionary confirmed the rise in prevalence of words related to the Pandemic saw the word “Brexit” drop by an amazing 80% in 2020.

Whilst we’ve been understandably distracted by World events the timeline is set and there’s no avoiding the inevitable move toward the end in the transition period and new rules taking effect from 1st January 2021.  Despite the impact of Covid-19 there will be no further extensions so your business will need to be prepared for the new relationship with our European neighbours and that gives you until 31st December to put all the appropriate measures in place.  But what are the key points to be aware of and actions to be taken?

Professional Qualifications & Accreditations

A large number of businesses and their employees rely upon their professional qualifications to establish their credibility and competence in seeking appointments and ability to undertake work for customers. You cannot assume that this process has been covered by your professional governing body so you should seek proof that such verification for EU validation of your professional qualifications has been made.

Visa Permits for Working in the EU

If your organisation relies on workers travelling to the EU they may face difficulties and even refusal of entry if they fail to comply with immigration requirements as set out by the 27 existing members of the European Union.

It is always best to check personally with the specific countries with which you are travelling to and working in.

There is limited information available on Govt websites albeit there is a comprehensive questionnaire format that may assist if you are seeking reassurance on a number of points affecting your business as a result of Brexit.

To access the enquiry form follow this link;

Data Protection / Cyber Security

There are specific requirements to cover the exchange and flow of personal data between the EU and UK.  If you have not arranged the appropriate safeguards it could result in the blocking of data flows from the European Economic Area.

Personal data is any information that can be used to identify a living person, including names, delivery details, IP addresses, or HR data such as payroll details. Most organisations use personal data in their daily operations.

From 1 January 2021, your organisation will need to have an alternative transfer mechanism, such as Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) in place with EU/EEA counterparts to ensure you can keep personal data flowing lawfully from them.

The EU is conducting a data adequacy assessment of the UK. If the EU grants positive adequacy decisions by 1 January 2021, it would mean that personal data can flow freely from the EU/EEA to the UK, as it does now, without any action by organisations.

With only weeks to go, the EU has yet to make a decision as to whether they accept that the UK’s data protection regime is still adequate.

You should work with EU/EEA organisations who transfer personal data to you to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms. For most organisations, the most relevant of these will be SCCs. The ICO also provides more detailed guidance on what actions might be necessary and an interactive tool that allows you to build SCCs.

11 of the 12 third countries deemed adequate by the EU have currently informed us they will maintain unrestricted personal data flows with the UK from 2021. Further information can be found on the ICO’s website.

For personal data flows from the UK

There are currently no changes to the way you send personal data to the EU/EEA, Gibraltar and other countries deemed adequate by the EU. If this situation changes, we will update this page.  For international data transfers from the UK to other jurisdictions, further information can be found on the ICO’s website.

Recruiting from Outside the UK & Immigration

If recruiting non-UK residents, you will be required to register as a licensed visa sponsor. If you don’t have a license you may not have a legal right to hire staff from outside the UK.

New hires from outside the UK will be required to meet salary requirements and language tests.

New immigration rules will be “simple and flexible”, ministers have promised, as the UK’s points-based post-Brexit system prepares to go live.

From 1st December 2020 most foreign nationals, including from the European Union, who want to work in the UK from 1 January will have to apply online for a visa.

Those seeking a skilled worker visa will need a job offer, to be proficient in English and earn at least £25,600.  Free movement from and to the EU will come to an end on 31 December.

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