10 ways Brexit will change the lives of tech startups in UK and EU

Boris Johnson Brexit Image Credits: Shutterstock

Things will now be different with post-Brexit trade and security arrangements finally being taken care of, after four and a half years. With Brexit coming into full effect, there are a multitude of changes coming about, which one needs to take heed of. Some of these changes will impact businesses and startups too, and we take a look at 10 ways Brexit will change the lives of tech startups that are not only UK-based but also operate in the EU. 

1) There’s a lot of new paperwork for business owners  

With Brexit, business owners will need to deal with a lot of new rules and regulations, and paperwork. Now, business owners will need to perform a customs declaration if they take goods to sell them abroad or use for business. 

For imports, a business needs an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods into England, Wales or Scotland. Businesses may also need to hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for them, or they can do it themselves. Importers will also need to check what new licences and certificates they may now need. 

For exports, one will need to check duties, rules and restrictions for your goods in the destination country. One may also need to obtain licences or certificates while exporting certain items. The list includes medical devices, chemicals, technology, among others.

Trucks on a highway

2)Truckers need a ‘Kermit’ – or face £300 fines 

While importing or exporting goods via roadways, businesses will now need to obtain a ‘Kermit’ for HGV vehicles. If not obtained, the trucks will be fined £300 and forced to leave the country if they enter Kent without the new 24-hour permit – which local officials are calling a ‘Kermit’. Do note that Kent-based or UK-only hauliers won’t be pulled over but other truckers making local deliveries to Kent will need to keep their papers ready.

3) New rules for firms trading with Belfast

If you are a firm that trades with Belfast, there are new rules to take heed of. The UK and the EU have agreed upon not mandating checks at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This will enable lorries to continue to drive across the island of Ireland without having to be inspected. However, there’s a new “regulatory” border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). That’s because, unlike Northern Ireland, Great Britain won’t have to follow EU rules in future.

4) Mobile phone roaming charges  

When non-essential travel to the EU is resumed after the pandemic, UK citizens will need to check their mobile phone company’s roaming charges before travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. One might be charged for using their mobile service in the aforementioned regions, if their operator has reintroduced roaming charges. There’s also a new law to protect users from mobile data charges above £45 without their knowledge. Once the £45 mark is crossed, users will need to opt in to spend more to continue using the internet while abroad. 

5) You now require a licence to employ workers from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein 

As the process of going out to work in the EU and said countries has changed, so has the procedure for workers that are coming in to work in the UK from EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. There’s now an immigration system and while recruiting anyone from outside of the UK needs to meet certain requirements and apply for permission first. One will need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK. 

6) You may not be able to hold, register or renew a .eu domain name 

Starting January 1, 2021, people from the UK might not be able to  hold, register or renew a .eu domain name. One will first need to check their eligibility to see if they can register or renew .eu domain, which won’t be possible if an organisation, business or undertaking is established in the UK but not in the EU/European Economic Area (EEA). Additionally, if one lives outside of the EU/EEA and are not an EU/EEA citizen, they will lose their .eu domain. 

Only an EU/EEA citizen, independently of where they live, not an EU/EEA citizen but resident in the EU/EEA and an organisation, business or undertaking that is established in the EU/EEA will be able to register or hold .eu domain names. 

Brexit EU UK flag

7) You may not be able to access personal data from the EU

With Brexit now in full effect, a business might not be able to access personal data from the EU without the right arrangements in place. Data protection and data flows with the EU/EEA will be affected. For now, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement is set in place, which enables a bridging mechanism to allow the continued free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK after the transition period, until adequacy decisions come into effect, for up to 6 months. EU adequacy decisions for the UK would allow for the ongoing free flow of data from the EEA to the UK.

However, as a precaution, the UK govt suggests that during the bridging mechanism, one should work with EU/EEA organisations who transfer personal data to your business to come up with alternative transfer mechanisms. This will help them be safe against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.

8) You must renew your passport six months early – and pay to visit the EU from 2022  

While travelling to the EU from the UK, travellers will now need to ensure that their passport has at least six months of validity left and is less than 10 years old. If not, they can be denied travel to the EU. Currently, British citizens are allowed to enter ‘Schengen area‘ countries with a valid passport. As a tourist, one will still be able to travel to most EU countries – plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – without a visa. In addition, UK citizens will need to pay for a visa-waiver scheme to visit many European countries.

9) You no longer have the right to live and work in the EU

Without proper prior documentation, people living in the UK can no longer freely work in the EU. One will need to check each EU country’s requirement before going there to work, study or spend more than 90 of any 180 days in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. One may be refused entry into the EU and aforementioned countries if they don’t have the correct visa or work permit.

10) Great Britain citizens are blocked from non-essential travel to the EU 

Citizens from Great Britain are blocked from travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for non-essential reasons. This is due to the current situation that has arised due to the pandemic. However, post Brexit, British citizens will need to get an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) waiver every 3 years to travel to EU countries. So, if you are keen on meeting clients in the EU or taking a leisurely trip, ensure you have proper documentation and authorisation before commencing your journey. 

Are you a business affected by these new rules of Brexit? Share your story in the comment below or write to us at [email protected].