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See the latest news and get more information regarding coronavirus (Covid-19). Find out more about the help for affected businesses, charities and individuals. There is also advice on how to open your business and shop, safely. Please use our online forms, webchat, app and phone number to contact us. Our Wigton office is open by appointment only - call 0303 123 1702 to book an appointment to speak to a customer service advisor.

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Brexit (European Union Withdrawal)

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020, although there is a planned 11 month transition period. During this time, the UK will still follow all the EU's rules and regulations, remain in the single market and the customs union and the free movement of people will continue.

Preparations for a No Deal Brexit – known as Operation Yellowhammer – are now halted due to the decreased likelihood of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. Government focus is now on the delivery aspects of the current deal, future relationship negotiations and preparing for the end of the implementation period.   

Further information about Brexit can be found on the Government's The UK and the EU have agreed a deal page. If are a UK citizen living in the EU you can check specific guidance for the country you live in.

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the  EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

The Government has produced information for employers on employing EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens . It has been updated to add information relating to the points based immigration system from 1 January 2021.

Let's Get Going

In July 2020 the government launched a major new public information campaign, ‘The UK’s new start: let’s get going’. The strapline is Check. Change. Go and the campaign will set out the actions businesses and individuals need to take to prepare for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and ensure they are ready to seize the opportunities that it will bring.

The campaign focuses on the actions businesses and individuals need to take to prepare for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, including: 

  • Making sure you are ready to travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, for example by getting comprehensive travel insurance, ensuring your passport is valid, and checking your roaming policy with your mobile phone provider.

  • If you want to travel to Europe with your pet from 1 January 2021, contact your vet at least 4 months before you travel.

  • Making sure your business is ready to export or import from/to the EU, for example by getting an EU EORI number or registering with the relevant Customs Authority.

Click here for information about the campaign,  actions that can be taken now and to get a personalised list of actions for you, your family, and your business. You can also sign up for emails to get updates when things change.

Trading with the EU

From 1 January the way we trade with the EU will change. To buy or sell from the EU you will need to follow new customs rules or you will not be able to continue to trade. These important actions are required regardless of the outcome of negotiations with the EU and whether or not the government secures a Free Trade Agreement.

Click here to find out what you need to do to export goods to the EU, import goods from the EU and prepare your business to continue to move people, data and services between the UK and the EU.

Customs Support

The government has issued guidance if you would like to hire a person or business to deal with customs for you. They have also created a list of customs agents and fast parcel operators .

Customs Support Funding

The deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding has been extended to 31 January 2021. From 1 January 2021, the way businesses trade will change, and they’ll need to prepare for life outside the EU, including new customs arrangements. For example, businesses will need to make customs declarations to import and export goods between Great Britain (GB) and the EU once the UK is outside of the EU’s customs territory.

Guidance on how to apply for customs support funding can be found on the gov.uk website.

EU funding

Although the UK has left the EU you’ll continue to get any EU funding you’ve already been awarded. This includes funding due after 31 December 2020.

You can still apply to some EU funds under the current spending framework. It has not yet been decided what funding UK organisations will be able to apply for after the spending framework ends. Click here to visit the Government's EU Funding page.

Points-based Immigration System - Employers Guide

The government has published an updated introductory guide  to the new points-based immigration system for employers. It provides an overview of the new system and explains how employers are affected. 

It is important to know:

  • From 1 January 2021, if you want to recruit anyone from outside the UK you must be a Home Office licensed sponsor. This includes hiring people from the EU.
  • As a sponsor, you will be able to recruit skilled workers from anywhere in the world. Only people who meet the job and salary requirements will be eligible.
  • If your organisation is not already a licensed sponsor and you think you will want to sponsor eligible skilled workers from1 January 2021, you should apply now .

Click here to sign up to receive Home Office updates on the new immigration system.

EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. For more information, click here .

Applications are free and the deadline for application is 30 June 2021.

If you are an Irish citizen or have indefinite leave to remain you do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Employers - If you employ EU citizens and would like more information about the EUSS, the government have provided an introduction to the scheme for employers and a toolkit to equip you with the right materials and information to support EU citizens to apply to stay in the UK.

Community Groups - If you are a community group working with EU citizens, learn how you can support EU citizens and non-EU citizen family members to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme here . There is also a toolkit to help you provide clear and accurate information to the EU citizens and family members you are supporting.

Vulnerable Citizens - If you are elderly, isolated, disabled or otherwise vulnerable you can get help applying to the EU Settlement Scheme .

The EUSS is administered by the Home Office - to find out what you need to do and how to apply, use the online tool on Gov.uk.

If you need help before you apply or with an on-going application, you can get help online  or call 0300 123 7379 .

Returning to the UK

The government has provided  guidance about some of the actions you may need to take if you are a UK national living abroad and you are returning to the UK permanently. Areas covered include bringing family members to the UK, bringing pets to the UK, access to benefits, services and education.