The UK has left the EU and the transition period will end on 31st December 2020. As the UK transitions to its new relationship with the EU, businesses need to take action to prepare. From 1st January 2021, there will be a series of guaranteed changes and opportunities for businesses.

Many of these changes will be required regardless of the agreement the UK reaches with the EU on its future trade relationship, as the UK will be leaving the single market and customs union.

You will need to check what will change for your business from 1st January 2021 and take necessary action now to ensure that you are not at risk.

Some key considerations for businesses preparing for Brexit
Importing and Exporting

The process for importing and exporting goods from the EU will change. Businesses in Great Britain need to complete the below actions to continue importing and exporting with EU countries from 1 January 2021:

  • Make sure you have a GB EORI number
  • See if your imported goods are eligible for staged controls
  • Check the Controlled goods list to see if you need to complete declarations from January
  • Decide how you’re going to make customs declarations
  • Check if Import VAT is due at the border
  • Decide how you will account for import VAT when you make a customs declaration

Selling your goods

From the 1 January 2021 the essential requirements and standards that can be used to demonstrate compliance will be the same as they are now. However, there may be other changes you need to make. Use to identify how your business can be ready to sell certain goods in the UK and EU.

Trading with the EU

After 31 December 2020, EU trade agreements will not apply to the UK. The UK is seeking to reproduce the effects of existing EU agreements for when they no longer apply to the UK. This will ensure continuity of trading arrangements for UK businesses. This means businesses will have to take action.

Northern Ireland Protocol

From 1 January 2021, the Northern Ireland Protocol will take effect. Businesses and individuals will be able to move goods from Northern Ireland into the rest of the United Kingdom on the same basis as now. However, the application of the Protocol will involve some changes for goods movements into Northern Ireland.


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. If you receive personal data from the EU for business use, you may need to take action on data protection. Additionally, if you provide online service in the EU, you will have to ensure that you are compliant with relevant requirements in each EU country you operate in. To understand more about the steps you need to take, visit:


The UK has left the EU and from 31 December 2020, free movement of people between the UK and EU will end. Currently, EU citizens have the right to move freely into the UK to live, work and study here. This will come to an end after the transition period and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system.

The new system will change the way businesses hire from the EU and it is important you take the necessary steps to prepare. Anyone you want to recruit from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, will need to apply for permission first, and you will need to be registered as a licensed sponsor.

The new system will not apply to EU employees already working for you in the UK. EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Similarly, EU citizens who are employed, or self-employed in the UK, but live elsewhere, otherwise known as frontier workers, will be able to keep their status if they are frontier working in the UK by 31 December 2020, but they will need to apply for a permit. Irish citizens will not need a frontier worker permit but may apply for one if they wish. Additionally, EU citizens can continue to visit the UK for up to six months without applying for a visa and may also participate in a wide range of activities, including business-related activities, such as events and conferences.

Providing Services

If you’re a UK business or professional providing services in the EU or EFTA region, you will need to check the national regulations of the country you’re doing business in to understand how best to operate. You will also need to have your UK professional qualification officially recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in the EU or EFTA.

Further Information

For further information highlighted above, you should visit and use the simple checker tool to find out if your business needs to take any further actions.


Source: Zurich