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With just months left until our transition period with the EU comes to an end, the UK government this week launched a campaign to advise citizens of how their lives may change. The campaign includes a series of adverts and communications covering the topics of holidays, pet travel and mobile phone roaming.

With this campaign seeking to inform the public on how to prepare for life post-EU, it is an ideal time to consider how to get your staff equally informed about how your operations may change. Being able to provide the right information to your employees means understanding all the ways that leaving the EU may affect your business.

In this guide, we have listed the different areas of your business that may change and affect your staff, as well as how you can keep them in the loop. By doing so, you can ensure your entire enterprise is in the right position to adapt come 1st January 2021, when the UK ceases to be an EU member state.

Inform EU nationals about the EU Settlement Scheme

One of the most significant changes, when the UK leaves the EU, will be the end of free movement of citizens that currently applies under EU rules. Instead, the UK will have new immigration schemes in place, that are likely to focus on skilled labour under a points-based system.

Due to this change to free movement, any staff members you employ that are EU nationals will be particularly affected. However, the government has put measures in place to allow these workers to remain in the UK: EU Settlement Scheme. As the UK’s transition end date approaches, you must provide relevant staff with the right information to apply under the scheme.

The EU Settlement Scheme allows EU citizens already living and work in the UK to obtain “settled status” (provided they have been in the UK for five or more years) or “pre-settled status” (if they have been in the UK less than five years). Both statuses will allow them to remain in the UK even after we have left the EU, as well as their eligible family members. In order to apply, they will need to provide proof of identity and continuous residence in Britain.

Any EU staff you employ will need to seek this status unless they already have British citizenship. Otherwise, they may risk being unable to continue working in the UK, which will leave you with vacancies to fill.

Appoint someone to take charge of customs

If your company deals with imports or exports, there are specific new measures you will need to undertake to allow you to continue to do so. One of these is appointing someone to take charge of customs on your behalf.

You can use an internal or external resource to handle customs for your goods. However, if you do choose to appoint an internal resource, you will need to make sure this person is fully aware of what they need to do, including how to make customs declarations and organise customs duty.

Beyond this, you should also make sure any staff involved in the process of importing and exporting goods to or from the EU are aware of any operational changes. This might include paperwork around trading, changed timescales, transportation of goods and other internal practices. This will allow them to continue to work efficiently and prevent delay or disruption to your company’s trading.

Update them of changes to processes

Leaving the EU has the ability to change many aspects of your business, including your supplier relationships, recruitment, funding and customer base. It may also include changes to specific legislation and regulation, which is still under discussion between the UK and EU currently. As such, you may find many of your internal processes changing.

It is vital to keep your employees updated on these changing processes so that they can continue to do their job effectively. This will require planning ahead to determine the challenges posed to your business when the UK leaves the EU, and what processes you will put in place to overcome them. You may even wish to involve key staff members in these planning stages. If you are struggling to decipher how your business may be affected, now is an excellent time to ask for assistance.

These new processes should be decided and communicated to your staff ahead of 31st December 2020, so that they are equipped for 1st January 2021 when the changes should take effect. This will minimise any disruption to your operations.

Regularly communicate as updates come out

The UK is in negotiation with the EU as to what kind of deal can be struck between the two sides, as well as in current talks with several other countries regarding trade agreements. Due to this, there is much to be decided regarding exactly what post-EU life will look like for the UK business.

In the coming weeks and months, we will receive more information from the government about the UK’s future development. We will also find out whether a deal can be reached with the EU or not.

Once these updates are released to the public, companies should be able to uncover precisely what they need to do to future-proof their operations. As and when this happens, you will need to make sure your employees are informed appropriately.

One way to do this might be to create a weekly bulletin to share with your employees, informing them of any relevant news or internal updates. You can also point them towards the government website, where they can sign up for weekly updates.

By keeping them appropriately updated, you can bring them along with your company’s adaption to the UK’s future international development and allow for a smoother transition.

Get the right advice

If you need assistance in shaping your business preparations for when the UK leaves the EU, we can help. Our expert advisors can provide bespoke guidance tailored to your need. We can also help you to prepare your employees.

To get advice and arrange a bespoke one to one session with one of our expert advisors, please contact 0330 2020 216 or email [email protected].