How to use the transition period to prepare your business for life after Brexit

4th February 2020

Whilst 31 January will forever remain a significant date for the UK, it is pretty much business as usual while we navigate the next eleven months during the transition period. 

However, businesses are being urged to use this time to prepare for when the changes do come into force from 1 January 2021. While the government works with the EU and the rest of the world in trade deal talks, there are certain things that you can do to prepare that do not depend on the negotiations.


You need to check if your employees are legally allowed to remain in the UK to live and work if they are from the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA). If they don’t have a valid ‘permanent residence document’ or ‘indefinite leave to remain/enter’ status they will need to apply to continue living in the UK. 

To do so, your employees must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If successful, they can also then apply for British citizenship

As a business owner, you will also need to ensure that you’ll have sufficient labour and skills if you employ workers from the EU.  

Take a look at the Employer Toolkit to help provide clear and accurate information and support to your employees.


Cross-border trade 

After the transition period, the UK will no longer be treated as a country from the EEA and UK firms will likely face additional barriers to trade.

To trade with the EU from 2021, you will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Without one, you may face delays and increased costs to move your goods between the UK and EU countries. 

Providing services or operating in the EU

For businesses providing services or operating within the EU, there may be new rules that you need to comply with.

This will depend on the sector and country you operate in and could affect your business if:

  • you have a branch(es) and subsidiaries in the EU
  • you operate in a service sector within the EU
  • you’re planning a merger with an EU company
  • you or your employees travel to EU/EEA countries or Switzerland for business
  • you or your employees provide services in a regulated profession in the EU/EEA/Switzerland

We recommend checking the regulations by reading the specific country guides, depending on where you operate, as the rules differ from EU member countries.  


For advice on your individual situation, whether that be living, working, travelling or doing business in the UK or the EU, use the GOV.UK ‘Get ready for Brexit’ checker which offers actions and advice specifically relevant to your business. Alternatively, contact us on 01926 422292.