Thank you to Colm Shannon in Newry Chamber for preparing this update on Brexit for Chamber members and for permitting us to share it with BID members.
Following the announcement on the NI Protocol and the lack of progress on negotiations between the EU-UK, here is an update for businesses on what they need to focus on.
It is very easy to get caught up in the current political negotiations between the UK-EU. As a business the best advice we can give is leave the politics to the politicians and focus on what you need to do over the next few weeks to prepare for the end of the transition.
Here are some important points you should consider:
HEALTH CHECK YOUR BUSINESS:
Whether you are a large or small business, or even if you think you are ready for the end of the transition period, do a quick health check of your preparedness for Brexit.
There are some great tools to help you do this.
Invest NI’s EU Exit Resilience Tool:
This online tool will tell you where your strengths are and highlight vulnerable areas.
InterTradeIreland’s Brexit Readiness:
Comprehensive information on how your business can prepare for the end of the transition period is available on InterTradeIreland’s website. InterTradeIreland also has a Brexit Readiness Voucher of up to £2,000/€2,250.
Michael Gove’s statement on Wednesday 9th December 2020 clarified some points about the Protocol. Goods travelling from NI to GB, will require no paperwork.
Goods brought in from GB that are sold to consumers in NI or used in NI, are tariff free. A grace period has been granted for supermarkets for an initial 3 months with an extension of up to 6 months for chilled meats.
We are currently looking for additional information on whether the grace period applies to any other companies involved in food preparation or distribution. We will provide a further update on this when available.
MANAGING YOUR PEOPLE:
There are a range of changes in regards to EU workers that you need to be aware of as an employer. If you haven’t already done so, you should review your workforce requirements and how that might impact on your recruitment plans in 2021. Also you might want to consider whether you need a sponsorship license.
EU Settlement Scheme: If you have EU citizens currently working in your business, it is important that they apply for settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme. Ensure they are aware of the scheme and that it is set to close on 30 June 2021. Successful applicants will be provided with proof of their right to live and work in the UK.
Points Based Immigration System: From 31st December 2020, the ability of EU nationals to come to the UK to work (without first obtaining a work visa) is set to end. Further information on points based system can be found HERE.
Frontier Workers Permit: Many local businesses have EU nationals working for them, who commute everyday from the south. Employees from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, who might live south of the border and currently work for you can apply for a Frontier Workers Permit. Frontier workers can apply from Thursday 10th December 2020 and have up to 1st July 2021 to apply and you can find more information HERE.
Irish Citizens: Will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK just as they do now. Irish citizens are not required to make an immigration application (either to the EU Settlement Scheme or under the new post Brexit immigration system).
DATA PROTECTION AND GDPR:
If your business provides services cross-border on the island of Ireland or to GB, you should review and act on any changes to GDPR and Data Protections rules that may apply to your business from 1st January 2021.
Businesses should assess current arrangements and develop plans to ensure compliance with GDPR and other relevant EU Directives and Regulations for data transfers to third countries, in the event of no UK data adequacy decision being made.
You can find further information on the Information Commissioners website HERE.
The above information is intended to make you think of some immediate steps you can take before the end of the month. With negotiations still continuing it is a very fluid situation and the Chamber will try to keep you informed as best as we can.
Please use these next few weeks to make sure you are as prepared as you can be for the end of the Transition period.
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