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While politicians fight over the right kind of Brexit or no Brexit, business has to go on. If you are a VA trying to support your clients and their plans from November onwards, here are some things you can sort out or keep an eye on now that will make everyone’s life a little easier. No-one knows what the final arrangements are to be. But we can all start by identifying what is likely to be affected if a hard Brexit takes place.
Hard Brexit and Travel to the EU
Do you or your clients need to travel immediately after Brexit?
Which airlines are you going to book the flights with? British based airlines may have limited rights to fly in the EU. Some will only be able to fly directly to and from particular destinations. Others have already sorted out their EU rights. So far Easyjet has arranged to run its EU flights through a new Austrian subsidiary. Ryanair and Wiz are now licensed to run their internal UK flights and to non-EU destinations. It’ll be important to check before you book! We now have an open skies agreement but it is still worth double-checking all elements of a flight are OK
For more information
Top Hard Brexit Tip
Check your client’s diaries for trips scheduled from February to May. See if they involve travel by air and which airlines they are booked with. Keep a close eye on the airline’s updates to see if they are still able to fly as planned. If booking new flights, choose airlines that can go wherever you need to go. Keep a list so you can easily lay your hands on what needs to be done.
If you or your clients need to drive in the EU your driving and insurance arrangements will be different.
If you are taking your own car to the EU you will need a ‘green card’ to prove you have valid insurance. This means you will need to check with your insurer that you are covered for driving in the EU AND obtain a green card that you can produce if needed. For more information on green cards check here.
Apply well in advance since many insurers will not have done this before and will be doing this for the first time. Some insurance companies want more than a month to do this.
The Government’s advice on driving and Brexit can be found here
UK driving licenses will not be valid in the EU until a reciprocal agreement is reached.
There may be a gap. If you or your clients need to drive in the EU in the period immediately after Brexit you may wish to invest in an International Drivers Permit. Only some Post Offices will do this. It costs £5.50 for a year (more if you want extra countries) and you can defer the start date for up to 3 months.
Here is a link that will tell you where your nearest Post Office that can issue one is. Nearest post office
For more information on driving in different countries, as well as a map with all the countries shown where an IDP is needed, please visit Vehicle Rent’s website.
Top Hard Brexit Tip
Check your client’s diaries for car hire and driving trips to the EU scheduled from February to May. Check if they have got an International Driver’s permit and if not where their nearest issuing Post Office is. Set aside time in their diary to go to a Post Office and do this. This is something they have to turn up in person to do.
If they are taking their own car, make sure they contact their insurer and get a green card. Keep a list so you can easily lay your hands on what needs to be done.
Travel insurance – EHIC cards
EHICs will not cover urgent treatment in the EU after a hard Brexit. Many travel insurance policies require you to take and use one in order to be covered under the policy. You will need to take appropriate paperwork to show you are insured for medical treatment when travelling.
Top Hard Brexit Tip
Check your client’s diaries for trips scheduled from February to May. Find out who they are insured with and what their policy says. If it requires an EHIC they will need to contact their insurers and see what the new arrangements are. Keep a list so you can easily lay your hands on what needs to be done.
If no reciprocal deal is made for short-term travel you will need a visa to travel on holiday in the EU. You will need to make sure you have 3 months on your passport post any EU travel date you have in mind. This is the rule that applies to all non-EU Citizens. There may later be some kind of concession or agreement but you have to juggle the time it takes to get a new passport in the UK (6 weeks on average) with the time it may take to make an agreement post-Brexit and your planned departure date.
Apply for your passport here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport
If you need to apply for a Schengen visa you will need all the necessary supporting information. More information on how to apply can be found here. Schengen visas are for tourism.
If you need to go to the EU to work you will not be able to use a Schengen visa. If no reciprocal arrangements are made you will need to apply for a work permit. If you support trainers or coaches who travel throughout the EU on business, you will know that many organisations have put their bookings on hold until the Brexit question is resolved. A hard Brexit may result in the cancellation of bookings since many will be unable to qualify for a work permit or obtain one in time.
Top Hard Brexit Tip
Check your client’s diaries for business and work-related trips scheduled from February to May. Find out how long it takes to get a Shengen visa from the Embassy in question (see link above under visas) and make a suitable note to arrange application in good time. Your client may have to attend in person to do this.
Work permits will need to be applied for if you are working in the EU country. That has to be done on a country by country basis using the UK embassy of each country you or your client wish to work in. This process will take money (visa application fees), documentation and time. It will not always be successful. It will take time to work out how much impact this will have.
If the UK leaves the EU on 1st February 2019 with no agreement in place regarding future arrangements for data protection, there would be no immediate change in the UK’s own data protection standards. This is because the Data Protection Act 2018 would remain in place and the EU Withdrawal Act incorporates the GDPR into UK law.
However, the legal framework governing transfers of personal data from organisations (or subsidiaries) established in the EU to organisations established in the UK would change on exit. You would need to take action to ensure EU organisations were able to continue to send you personal data.
We will be working with all our KoffeeKlatch customers who use our terms of business, data privacy policies or associate agreements to make sure any necessary changes are waiting for you by 1st February October. This is part of your group membership with us. Check the customer support group during October to find out when to download them.
If you are not a KoffeeKlatch customer then you will need to set aside time to work out if this affects you and if so how. For most VAs this is a bigger issue if you have EU based clients. For more information check here.
Top Hard Brexit Tip
Analyse your clients and see if any are based in the EU and share personal data (about their clients and prospects) with you. Make arrangements to update your contracts (or download your updates if you are a KoffeeKlatch customer). Update your GDPR processes. Now is a great time to get on top of all of that anyway. Check here for our VAGDPR group.
Brexit and your VA business
While nobody knows what the future will bring, there are many things you can start to prepare for right now that will let you help your clients through the Brexit transition. If you know what you and your clients are planning and you have identified what is likely to be most affected by Brexit, you will know what to focus on when we know what is going on.
We have done our best to get you started – but things can and will change very rapidly. Don’t forget to check you have the latest information before taking action.
If you want to find out more about our Global VA Terms please do visit our page for Global VAs for more details.