Brexit Update

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UK Government has issued a package of grants and IT support for UK companies in import-export to help them prepare for Brexit.

The link is as below and training grants are available for companies completing customs declarations or intending to complete customs declarations, i.e. who are importing and exporting.

What is the Customs Training and IT Grant?

From early December 2018, customs intermediaries and traders who complete, or intend to complete customs declarations can apply for funding for training and IT. An investment of £5 million has been set aside for these grants to help increase capacity in preparation for the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019. We would encourage businesses to apply early. Applications will close on 5 April 2019, or earlier once all the funding is allocated.

9th January 2019

Ahead of the vote in Parliament on Tuesday 15th January on the terms of the exit deal negotiated with the European Union, UK Government has reissued its guidance for businesses in order to mitigate against the risks of no deal, to ensure all businesses have access the most current no deal preparation guidance.
Information is available on the government website for no deal preparations. As well as a new campaign page to support businesses in their preparations. Guidance is also available concerning a no deal that the Commission has published.
Latest no-deal information

1. Customs:

• HMRC guidance on ‘preparing for changes at the UK border’. This provides more information relating to processes and procedures that are likely to apply to cross-border activity between the UK and the EU in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

• Border planning assumptions in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit were published on on 7 December. Planning assumptions have been revised to prepare for the potential impacts that imposition of third country controls by member states could have.  HMRC has also written to VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU explaining changes to customs, excise and VAT in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

2. The UK’s future skills-based immigration system:

In December, the Home Office published the UK’s future skills-based immigration system white paper which sets out the government’s plans to introduce a new single immigration system, ending free movement.

3. Citizens’ rights:

DExEU has published a policy paper  outlining the UK Government’s action to protect citizens’ rights which relates to EU citizens working in UK companies. Key points regarding EU citizens in the UK in a ‘no deal’ scenario:

• EU citizens resident in the UK by 29 March will be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. Applications will remain open until 31 December 2020

• EU citizens with settled status will be able to be joined by future spouses and partners (where the relationship was established after exit) and other dependent relatives until 31 December 2020

• EU citizens and their family members lawfully residing in the UK by 29 March 2019 will retain their entitlement to healthcare, education, benefits and social housing, including supported housing and homelessness assistance, on the same basis as now

• EU citizens will continue to have their professional qualifications recognised in the UK post-exit, where they have applied for / received a recognition decision by 29 March 2019.

4. Data:

DCMS has published guidance on data, and the summary and links of the Information Commissioner’s Office guidance, key points:

• When the UK exits the EU, data transfers to EEA states, EU and EEA institutions, and Gibraltar from the UK will not be restricted

• There will be no immediate change in the UK’s own data protection standards and responsibilities of data controllers across the UK will not change

• For those that rely on data transfers from the EU, alternative mechanisms for such transfers are available

• Organisations that transfer personal data to organisations overseas on the basis of standard contractual clauses can continue to rely on them. The Information Commissioner will have the power to issue new SCCs after Exit day. (Link to interactive tool on using SCCs)

• Existing authorisations of Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) made by the Information Commissioner will continue to be recognised in domestic law. After Exit day the Information Commissioner will continue to be able to authorise new BCRs under domestic law

• If the UK is currently your ‘lead supervisory authority’, you should review the structure of your European operations to assess whether you will continue to be able to have a lead authority and benefit from the ‘One- Stop Shop’

• If you are based in the UK, but you offer goods or services to individuals in the EEA, you will need to appoint a suitable representative in the EEA. This is separate from your DPO obligations, and your representative cannot be your DPO or one of your processors.

5. Licences and codes:

Ofgem has provided more information on the changes to domestic industry codes and licences in a letter, available here.

The Immigration White Paper has been published online here. The key headlines are:
• There will be a single immigration system, based on skills rather than nationality

• There will be a route for skilled workers, open to all nationalities. The skills threshold will be reduced to include medium-skilled workers, subject to a salary threshold. There will be no cap on numbers. We aim to reduce bureaucracy by reforming the existing sponsorship system

• As a transitional measure, UK Government will introduce a time limited route for temporary short-term workers of all skill levels. This will cater for seasonal and low-skilled work, and for short-term work undertaken by skilled workers

• The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will be introduced to provide the legal framework for the future system. The Bill will end free movement and make EU citizens and their family members subject to UK immigration controls

• We will be launching a year-long engagement process to enable businesses and other stakeholders to shape the final details of policy and processes.

UKLA advice to Members

Members should prepare contingency plans in the event of a “no deal” between the UK and the EU.

Members should ensure they keep up to date with official Government advice and guidance on Brexit matters. Further Government updates and advice on Brexit can be found on the .gov website at

Members should also consider their levels of stockholding immediately prior to, during, and after the notional date of exit in order to smooth out any disruption to supply chains between the UK and the EU over the short-term.

UKLA is holding a seminar on Brexit: Implications for Import/Export on 31st January 2019 and we would encourage all members to attend.