Brexit: what are the key changes?
Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, feelings have been mixed. Now, as of 1st of January, people will begin to notice the changes.
The UK is no longer a part of the EU’s Single Market or Customs Union. This means that individuals and businesses will need to adjust to these differences, which have kicked in over four years after the EU referendum.
Although there is a trade deal in place which will preserve quota-free, tariff-free trade, there will be significant changes. Here are some of the main ones:
1. Freedom of movement
For anyone wanting to live, travel, study, or work in the EU or UK, freedom of movement no longer applies. This will impact millions of people as the UK will introduce its own immigration policies. Travel will come with new restrictions on both sides.
Additionally, new rules will be applied to passports. This will affect how long people can stay, driving, insurance, mobile phone charges, healthcare, and pet travel.
Anyone wishing to work on either side may require a work visa and the UK will no longer be a part of the EU’s student exchange programme.
For UK citizens living in the EU, and for EU nationals residing in the UK, residency rights will continue. But, there will be restrictions on people moving freely going forward.
2. Customs checks on goods
For businesses, there will be new barriers on trade. The new border rules are now in place. This means goods entering the UK from the EU, or vice-versa, will be subject to customs checks and declarations. This will have an effect on supply chains and could cause disruption.
Furthermore, VAT will now be due on imports. And, as there’s no single regulatory framework in place, there will be additional checks as imports will need to meet different standards.
3. Fishing rights and quotas
The UK sells most of its fish to the EU. This means that it’s reliant on the single market and fishing rights were part of the new trade deal.
With the deal, a five-and-a-half-year transition period was put in place. In this time period, EU fisheries’ access to UK waters will be cut by 25% and the UK’s quotas will be increased. Following this, there will be an annual negotiation for fishing access.
4. The Northern Ireland border
The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic or Ireland was one of the biggest concerns in negotiations. The Republic is an EU member, so in order to keep an open border with Northern Ireland, there will be new border controls with the rest of the UK.
Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU customs rules, but it is not part of the Customs Union. These arrangements will remain in place indefinitely and are part of the 2019 deal.