No-deal Brexit and Professional Services: Get Prepared
Maria Peloponisiou~ 5 min Reading time | 24. Sep 2019
Many people are unsure as to what Brexit will bring. Will they be able to continue working in the EU? Will those who work in the UK still have their professional qualifications recognised? Will those travelling in the EU be affected during the transition period? This article will offer answers to all of these questions and more.
Will Professional Qualifications Be Recognised in the EU?
After Brexit, it is likely that some professional qualifications will not be recognised. At the time of writing, there is no sign that there will be any mutual recognition. This is with regards to qualifications gained in the UK, Switzerland, and the EEA states.
What this means is that those who have Swiss or EEA qualifications who wish to work in the UK will be affected. It also means that those who are from the EEA or Switzerland who do not have UK qualifications might be affected. Lastly, a UK national who wants to provide professional services in Switzerland, or the EEA might be affected.
The New System
There will be a new system of recognition for those who have professional qualifications. The new system intends to:
Ensure that UK regulators recognise Swiss and EEA qualifications. These are the qualifications that are equivalent to a UK qualification.
Stop including specific obligations that UK regulators have. These include offering some forms of compensation measures and access in some situations where the qualifications are not equivalent to UK qualifications.
Once the UK has left the European Union, any EEA-qualified lawyers will from then on be treated as and known as “Third-country” lawyers in both Wales and England. This is unless they already have UK legal profession admittance.
All of these changes will affect Registered European lawyers and EEA lawyers and Those who have been employed by Registered European lawyers and EEA lawyers. Lastly, EEA lawyers who manage or own legal businesses in Northern Ireland, Wales, or England.
What Happens With UK Workers in EU Countries?
The UK government has three agreements with EU countries that allow for freedom of movement. Each of the agreements ensures that UK workers have a lot of protection.
These agreements are:
The Withdrawal Agreement: This guarantees that British citizens have almost the same rights as they currently have. They will be allowed to continue to work, live, and travel. This would apply to British citizens who are moving to an EU country during the period of transition.
An agreement with Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway: These are countries that are not in the EU. However, they agree with freedom of movement of the EEA. This agreement is similar to the Withdrawal Agreement.
An agreement with Switzerland: Switzerland is not in the EEA, but it does accept freedom of movement. It is similar to the Withdrawal Agreement but there is also protection to British citizens in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Are There Changes for VAT and Exports?
If there is a no-deal Brexit, the UK will still have a VAT system. It’s likely that the VAT rules that relate to domestic transactions will not change.
If there is a no-deal Brexit, the British Government’s aim will ensure that any VAT procedures are kept as close as possible to the procedures that are currently used. However, there is some uncertainty as to what the changes and rules will be. The good news is that the British Government has made some decisions that will help businesses to work with any impacts of the changes.
Importing goods from the EU
If there is a no-deal Brexit, the current rules for imported goods from non-EU countries will begin to apply to goods that are imported from EU countries.
Travelling to Europe After Brexit
If you wish to travel to Europe after Brexit, you will need to ensure that:
You have a valid passport
You have travel insurance that covers healthcare issues
You have the correct driving documents
Pet travel is organised
You will need to ensure that you have a least six months left on your passport before you travel. Your passport will also need to be less than 10 years old. This is the case even if you have six or more month’s date left on it.
If your passport is not renewed you will not be able to travel to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and most EU countries.
GDPR and Data Protection
As the UK will officially become a third country once it leaves the EU, GDPR and data protection will be affected. There will be some very strict data rules. What this means is that organisations in the EU will have to ensure that every transfer they make to the EU is lawful. Unfortunately, doing this might not be quite as simple as it currently is.
The UK will have to show the EU that it is a safe place to process data. This will ensure that any restrictions on transferred data are not imposed. The European Commission will assess the UK’s personal data protection level. This is to ensure that it is equivalent to the same level as that of the EU. If the UK passes an ‘adequacy’ decision will be made.
The UK will not automatically be given an ‘adequacy’ status. However, if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement there won’t be any immediate changes to the UK’s protection standards. This is thanks to the Data Protection Act, 2018 which remains in place for now.