Professional and Business Services

Key facts: 

  • Providing services to EU customers is different following the end of the transition period.
  • UK businesses will have to comply with the rules of their customer’s country (host-country rules).
  • There may be requirements on professional qualifications, as no mutual recognition of professional qualifications has been agreed under the new trade deal. 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 changed after the transition period ended. 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.


  • EU nationals currently in the UK can apply for (pre-)Settled Status under the Settlement Scheme.
  • Since 1 January 2021, EU staff that come to the UK to work 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.
  • There may be requirements on professional qualifications, as no mutual recognition of professional qualifications has been agreed under the new trade deal.
  • Roaming charges may apply to UK customers using their devices in the EU.


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


  • Auditors, accountants and lawyers are not be able to operate in the EU like they did before the end of the transition period.
  • 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).

To do



  • 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.


Employing and managing staff

Useful resources to help businesses understand the implications of leaving the EU on employing and managing staff include:

  • Home Office guidance for EU, EEA and Swiss frontier workers who want to continue working in the UK
  • The EU Settlement Scheme enables EU,EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who live in the UK before the end of the transition period to continue to live, work and study in the UK.

Go to the Government’s checker tool and the EU Readiness Notices for all other questions on EU exit and your sector.

What’s next?

The EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement lays down the final conditions for UK-EU trade in services and investment.

Related Resources