Published: 17/11/2020

Urgent message from the business secretary:

“There is just over a month to go until the end of the transition period and there will be new rules to follow from 1 January 2021 onwards. As Business Secretary, as business secretary, I urge you to act now to avoid your business operations being interrupted when the transition period ends.”

The top actions which you can take now to prepare are:

  1. Check the new rules on importing and exporting goods between the EU and Great Britain from 1 January 2021. Different rules will apply in Northern Ireland.

Your business could face delays, disruption or administrative costs if you do not comply with new customs procedures from 1 January 2021.

  1. Use GOV.UK to identify changes affecting manufactured goods, such as new marketing requirements or approvals needed, to ensure your business is ready to sell them in the UK and EU.

You may not be able to sell your goods in the UK and the EU from January 2021

  1. If you are planning to recruit from overseas from 1 January, you will need to register as a licensed visa sponsor.

You may not be able to legally hire people from outside the UK if you do not have a license. New employees from outside the UK will also need to meet new job, salary and language requirements. Irish citizens and those eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme are not affected.

  1. If you are moving goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland, check the latest guidance.

At the end of the transition period, the Northern Ireland protocol comes into force. There will be no special provisions which only apply in Northern Ireland so if you move goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland make sure you check the latest guidance at:

The Government is providing a range of support, including webinars to walk you through the changes. These are available to watch on demand at: You should also check with your suppliers and customers that they are taking action.

These are challenging times, but the transition period is ending on 31 December 2020 and there will be no extension. Unless you take action, there is a risk your business operations will be interrupted. The government will be there to help you to take advantage of the many new opportunities that being in an independent trading nation will bring.

If you have any questions about how these changes may affect you, please contact your usual Partner or Manager, who will be happy to help.