Professional and Business Services

Key facts: 

  •  Providing services to EU customers may be different after the transition period ends.
  • UK businesses will have to comply with the rules of their customer’s country (host-country rules).
  • There may be no mutual recognition of professional qualifications and in some cases services providers will need an EU presence

Examples include:

Examples include: Law and accountancy firms, financial services, architects, medical professions, business advisers, business service providers, professional carers.

How we buy and sell services, and hire staff from the EU will change after the transition period ends. Businesses are advised to consider their route to market and look at what it means for their margins when they will provide their services in European countries on different terms, and when costs of recruitment will rise.

People

  • EU nationals currently in the UK can apply for (pre-)Settled Status under the Settlement Scheme.
  • After the transition period ends, EU staff that come to the UK to work, will need to apply under the points-based immigration system, and businesses have to sponsor applicants they want to recruit.
  • UK nationals can travel to the EU visa-free with a passport that is valid for at least 6 months and they can stay for a maximum of 90 consecutive days in any 180 day period.
  • Employed and self-employed workers carrying out projects in Europe may be subject to local employment and immigration rules.
  • Their professional qualifications may not be recognised.
  • Roaming charges may apply to UK customers using their devices in the EU.

Trade

  • UK services providers will be subject to more local rules in an EU country than now.
  • Owning or running a business in the EU may mean different requirements, depending on the sector and country in which the business is operating.

Regulation

  • Auditors, accountants and lawyers will not be able to operate in the EU as they do now.
  • UK professional qualifications may no longer be recognised in the EU, and a new UK recognition system for EU (EEA) qualifications will be phased in.
  • Some services sectors such as media services or financial services may need a ‘ ‘passport’ to be able to provide their services in the EU (EEA).
  • The legal basis for holding, acquiring and monitoring personal data from EU customers may become a problem after the transition period ends.

To do

People

Trade

  • Check what it will mean to provide services in EU countries and which business activities will require compliance with local rules.
  • Read the guidance from the Government and the EU on setting up and owning a business in the EU.

Regulation

Go to the Government’s checker tool and the EU Readiness Notices for more information on EU exit and your sector.

What’s next?

Trade under EU rules will continue as normal until the transition period ends. During that time the EU will assess whether the UK framework for financial services is equivalent to EU standards and whether its regulation on the protection of personal data is adequate. A new trade agreement will lay down the final conditions for UK-EU trade in services and investment.

Disclaimer At the time of writing, the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, and the changes outlined in this fact sheet will occur from 1 January 2021. If that date slips, the changes will still happen, but at a later date. For latest updates go to www.gov.uk/transition.

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