BREXIT Agreement Reached
On 24 December 2020, the European Commission and the UK Government announced that a trade agreement had been reached. You can read the agreement here, which includes a summary explainer.
The European Commission held a press conference on 24 December hosted by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, you can read the press release here. At the conference:
- Von Der Leyen said it was a fair and balanced deal and said they were well prepared for Brexit, with €5bn budgeted to help businesses affected.
- The EU rules and standards will be protected as well effective tools to respond to changing regulations if necessary. They will continue to work with the UK on issues such as climate change, energy, security, and transport.
- Barnier mentioned that there would be real changes as of the 1 January for many people and businesses, but that this new agreement founded a new relationship.
- He said that the level of mobility between the UK and EU states would not be what it had been. He mentioned the UK had decided not to participate in ERASMUS, the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students allowing free movement and education exchange between registered universities and institutions for eligible students.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a UK press conference on 24 December after the European Commission’s and you can read his statement here. At the conference:
- The PM described the deal as being a Canada style free trade deal worth £660bn a year. It will allow UK goods to be sold without tariffs and quotas in the EU.
- From 1 January we will be outside the customs union and single market. He highlighted the end of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and the ability to set our own standards.
- The PM said the deal means certainty for the aviation industry, border force, business, and security services. He noted this would allow the UK to become leaders in science and allow for collaboration around the world. He described it as allowing for a ‘giant free trade zone’ of which we will be a member but also allow us to make independent free trade agreements (there are over 60 deals so far including this one).
- Johnson was further asked about ERASMUS, he said that they are producing a UK scheme (named the Turing Scheme) to allow students to travel and study at universities around the world.
EU (Future Relationship) Bill approved
The EU (Future Relationship) Bill has been approved by Parliament and received Royal Assent. Further details about the bill are available here.
The Department for Health and Social Care has updated guidance on healthcare for visitors. The key message for EU nationals from 1 January 2021 is:
- If you are visiting the UK from an EU country and you fall ill or have a medical emergency during your temporary stay in England, you can use a valid EHIC issued by your home country to access healthcare.
- Your EHIC also covers you for the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, providing the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth or receive treatment.
- The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance as it will not cover any private medical healthcare, being flown back home, or lost or stolen property. You should still get travel insurance.
If you are visiting the UK from Norway, you will be entitled to medically necessary healthcare. You will need to show a valid Norwegian passport.
The Turing Scheme is announced and replaces Erasmus+
The Turing scheme was announced last week. The £100 million scheme that’s replacing the UK’s participation in Erasmus+ will provide funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting from September 2021.
Inbound & Outbound Travel after 01 January 2021
The ‘Travel to the EU’ section of the Foreign travel insurance page has been updated to reflect that UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will still be accepted in EU countries, with different guidance for people travelling to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from 1 January 2021.
Outbound Travel: Visiting Europe after 01 January
- Passport requirements
- Health care in the EURequirements for driving in the EU
- Taking pets to the EU
- Consumer protection
Inbound Travel: Visiting the UK after 01 January
- What visitors will need to enter the UK
- School travellers entering the UK
- What visitors can bring into the UK
- Healthcare in the UK for overseas visitors
- Requirements for driving in the UK
New Border Operating Model Policy Paper
The UK Government has today published its new Border Operating Model. It is a guide on how the border with the European Union will work after the transition period. In Annex G the passenger process is covered which includes crossing the border. It details that EU, EEA and Swiss national identity cards will be phased out as a valid travel document for entry to the UK. From 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will require a passport to travel to the UK. Exemptions apply for those who are eligible for the European Union Settlement Scheme status.
The visiting the UK guidance has been updated to reflect this information.
DCMS Seven Point Check-List
The way you hire staff from the EU is changing
The Home Office has launched a new campaign to help employers prepare for the introduction of the UK’s new points-based immigration system.
Free movement is ending, and the new system will introduce job, salary and language requirements that will change the way you hire from the EU.
From 1 January 2021, you will need to be a licensed sponsor to hire eligible people from outside the UK. Becoming a sponsor normally takes eight weeks and fees apply.
As a licensed sponsor, you will be able to recruit skilled workers from anywhere in the world, provided they meet certain eligibility requirements.
You can find further information, including full details of the sponsorship process on GOV.UK