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Brexit in a page - what do I need to know? 20 February 2020

Brexit expert Jacqui Bickerton summarises all you need to know about Brexit

Weekly reflection

Key dates

March 2020 Trade deal negotiations to commence

June 2020 Final date for the UK to request an extension to the transition period

June 2020 EU Summit to assess the progress of talks

26 November 2020 End date for the trade deal to be finalised

31 December 2020 End of the transition period

  • The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency have reported that UK companies are continuing to move their business to the Netherlands due to its stable political climate and high level of spoken English. During 2019 the Netherlands saw 78 UK businesses move. In total, 140 companies have now based their business in the Netherlands since the UK’s Brexit Referendum. This is expected to create 4,200 jobs.
  • Whilst the UK Government remain hopeful of achieving a Canada-style trade deal with the EU, the same hopes are not being reciprocated by the EU. Stefaan De Rynck, Senior Advisor to Michel Barnier who is the Chief Negotiator for the EU has confirmed that the EU’s relationship with Canada is a “different ball game”. Michel Barnier has stated that the UK’s particular proximity to the EU means that the deal will be different to that of Canada. The EU-Canadian deal eliminates most import tariffs on goods. The EU member states are due to reveal their negotiating objectives next week. Stefaan De Rynck said “I would expect some of these negotiations to be rather difficult, perhaps more difficult than during withdrawal because the scope of issues is so much vaster”.
  • The Portuguese Government have announced that they are considering different ways to make a unilateral offer to the UK on the issue of the European Health Insurance Card (“EHIC”) should agreement not be reached during the trade talks. Rita Marques, Tourism Minister said “The Portuguese and the UK are the oldest allies in the world and no matter what happens the Portuguese will stand by the British. The British traveler is very important to us”. In addition, the Portuguese Government are looking for ways to potentially offer the British traveler dedicated passport lanes and special arrangements to recognise the British driving licence.
  • Meanwhile the Home Secretary, Priti Patel has announced the new look immigration scheme (“the Scheme”) which will be implemented and operational for 1 January 2021. The Scheme aims to limit migration to the UK to those workers who fall into the category of “skilled”, have a job offer, speak the English language and have a salary of more than £25,600 per annum. Whilst businesses have 10 months to prepare for the new Scheme, there are likely to be significant effects for those who will no longer be able to employ low skilled workers from the EU (unless the EU workers have settled status). A government source said “Businesses can no longer rely on cheap migrant labour to do low-skill work as has been the case for the last 20-30 years. They need to invest in British workers. They need to be able to attract people”. There will be no cap on the number of skilled workers who can come to the UK beyond 1 January 2021.
  • The Road Haulage Association has expressed concerns about the new immigration point based system, stating that the UK was totally reliant on trucking and the new rules will, undoubtedly, limit the supply of trained drivers. They also warn about delays in next-day delivery for shoppers. Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association said “Profit margins are so low, between one and two per cent, that employers simply cannot afford to train new drivers. They need to employ those that are already qualified but with a 60,000 shortfall this is impossible. The UK cannot be allowed to grind to a halt as a result of government short-sightedness”.
  • Responding to the announcement of the new immigration scheme, Lia Nici MP believes that there will be an impact on the UK’s social care system but not on fishing or fish processing. Specifically, Lia Nici said “I think we will have to see through the fullness of time, but were not as reliant in Grimsby on migrant workers for seafood processing as they are in Scotland. I don’t think that it will be a massive problem. There’s no shortage of labour”.

To discuss any concerns about how Brexit may impact your business, please contact Jacqui Bickerton or visit our Brexit Hub to find out more. 

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