Important update from Dorset Chamber regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have a dedicated Coronavirus section, which is being updated on a daily basis. Click Here for more details.

Brexit Support from Dorset Chamber

Manufacturing and Engineering

Businesses in Dorset’s manufacturing and engineering sector employs more than 17,000 people, according to the county’s local enterprise partnership. Together they contribute £803m to the Dorset economy. Businesses range from SMEs with small workforces to large companies who trade extensively overseas. This information may be of use if your business is just starting its no-deal Brexit preparations or further advanced.

You need to know:

If you employ people from the EU – for example in factories, as drivers or in management positions – they will be able to stay until December 31, 2020.

They and their families will still be able to work, rent places to live and use services in the UK as usual. However, they must apply to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme to ensure they can stay after December 2020. If there is a deal, this date may change. It is free to apply for this status and applications are open now. People from the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the EU, will be able to work as usual in the UK. This is because the UK and Ireland have a Common Travel Area arrangement allowing people to come and go.

If you want to employ people from the EU after Brexit, they will be able to apply to stay for 36 months (three years) – on a temporary basis.

They will be able to stay under the European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) scheme. Then they will have to apply to stay permanently under Government immigration rules yet to be finalised although due to be introduced in January 2021. It is likely this will be based on a points-based immigration system, including the need to have lived in the UK for five years although this will be confirmed at a later date. Other criteria may include skills and salary levels.

People from the EU – including business visitors – will be able to visit the UK without a VISA.

They will need to show a valid passport or national identity card on entry to the UK. It is likely that the use of ID cards will be phased out during 2020. In the event of a no-deal, visitors from the EU will be able to stay for a maximum of three months. If you have UK employees working in the EU, check their employment and residency requirements. They may not be able to enter or work in some countries but generally, most nations are putting measures in place to allow them to stay on a temporary basis while they apply for residency. The time varies from country to country. There may also be a need to pay social security contributions and register for local healthcare for your UK employees in the EU although this may change from country to country.

Other checks to make include changes to mobile phone charges, driving licences and insurance. Your staff may also need an international driving permit to drive in the EU unless they get an EU licence. As the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card is unlikely to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit, ensure that they have health/hospital cover.

From 2021 UK visitors to the EU are likely to have to pay about seven Euros for the European Travel Information and Authorization Scheme (ETIAS). This will cover travel in the EU for three years. People from the UK should be able to travel for 90 days in any 180-days period without the need for a VIA or permit – this includes business meetings and training.

A new UK product marking system will be introduced for certain goods being sold in the UK if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

The UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark is aimed to replace the CE Mark in the long term. Generally speaking, most goods exported to the EU will still need a CE mark or recognition from an EU conformity assessment body.

If your business uses or imports/exports chemicals then a no-deal Brexit may mean some changes for you.

This includes the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation (REACH) system. These rules will be brought into UK law to create UK REACH. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is able to provide more details about any obligations. Your responsibilities for health and safety will not change under a no-deal Brexit. The Government has made amendments to the law to remove references to the EU but your legal requirement will remain the same. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has drawn up a guide in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It covers such matters as workplace equipment, machinery, working with explosives, hazardous chemicals and pesticides.

Data protection standards will still apply following a no-deal Brexit.

However, there may be changes to paperwork depending on how much data you exchange with other businesses and customers in Europe. The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued advice about data flows and GDPR after a Brexit for businesses. If there is a no-deal Brexit existing Intellectual Property protections – such as copyright, trademarks, designs and patents – will be recreated in UK law. The Government has more detailed guidance about how the system will work.

The UK will continue to maintain EU levels of environmental standards for things such as pollution prevention, waste incineration, solvents emissions and titanium dioxide to protect the environment and health.

This will include the Industrial Emissions Best Available Technique (BAT) system to reduce emissions by larger industry to air, water and land.

If we leave without a deal EU rules on state aid – support of any kind from local, regional or central government – will be worked into British law.

The aim is to make sure that competition is open and fair and control anti-competitive subsidies. The Competition and Markets Authority will take on enforcement and supervision in the UK. Businesses will still be able to apply for state aid in the UK.

If you export your goods to the EU after a no-deal Brexit, you will need to consider such matters as paperwork, declarations, tariffs and potential disruption.

This could mean more checks and controls at customs for certain goods and compliance with certain EU standards. The EU will introduce tariffs on products being exported from the UK into the EU under a no-deal Brexit. The exact rates are still emerging so you will need to check exactly how much your goods may be affected. Perhaps your business imports goods from the EU to process and sell on to customers in the UK or even back to the EU. The UK Government says about 88 per cent of imports from the EU will be tariff-free but some products will not under a temporary scheme, including lorries. This arrangement will last for 12 months while tariff levels are considered. If you do export, the Government has advice on what you will need to do under a no-deal Brexit. This includes getting a unique customs ID, called an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, making customs declarations and setting up payment accounts for customs duties.

You can also register for the Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) scheme which will make it easier to import goods. Speak to your suppliers – whether in the UK or EU – about their plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This could include demand on volumes, prices and rebates as well as where delays could occur.

If your own drivers or those of your suppliers are from the UK and driving into the EU they will need to carry certain documents with them.

These include a valid passport, a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card plus an International Driving Permit (IDP), which will be needed in some countries in a no-deal Brexit. They will also need the correct export documents. There will be a need to liaise with your distributor in the EU, who will effectively become an importer. Goods will need to be labelled and carry the correct compliance mark. VAT rules will remain unchanged for the majority of engineering firms and manufacturers. Specific changes in the system will apply to those firms involved in trade with the EU.

Immediate actions

NOW: Go through your supply chain with a fine-tooth comb and identify any potential delays or issues

NEXT: Talk to employees about the EU about their settlement status, and offer help if required

NOTE: Read Government guidance in detail if you trade with the EU

Check out:

Government advice

Settlement scheme

Temporary Leave to Remain

Health and Safety Executive

Exporting in no-deal Brexit

Information Commissioner’s Office

British Chambers of Commerce