December 14, 2017

Brexit and Relocation: Potential Areas of Impact to Mobility and Supply Chains

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Brexit and Relocation: Potential Areas of Impact to Mobility and Supply Chains

Posted by Mark Iredale, Global Manager, Supply Chain Management

The UK government triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March 2017 to officially begin the process to leave the European Union (EU), and Brexit negotiations are still at a relatively early stage. The complexities surrounding the relationship between the UK and the EU are becoming more and more evident. A key point in the ongoing Brexit discussions is the question of free movement of people and goods, a concern shared by global mobility teams. Cartus’ latest blog post in our Brexit series focuses on the potential areas of impact to mobility and supply chains associated with changes in legislation regarding immigration and household goods shipments.

Immigration Processes – Impact on Movement Across Borders

Changes in the immigration process could mean that UK government resources, as well as those of third parties supporting the process, may be stretched. They may be required to manage more transactions across more borders.

To stay abreast of immigration developments, Cartus works closely with immigration provider Fragomen, who releases regular information on immigration as it relates to Brexit and other issues. Their recent update concerns a Technical Note published by the UK Government on the administrative procedures that will apply to EU citizens once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The note contains the clearest and most favourable statement so far of the intended approach of the Home Office on the new ‘settled status’ visa category available to EU citizens in the United Kingdom.

A key point is a new ‘settled status’, similar to permanent residency in other countries. The highlights of this status include:

  • Streamlined application process. The note confirms the Government’s intention to implement a new, streamlined digital application process for settled status applications. This includes verification of economic activity with other government departments and reduced documentary requirements.
  • Two-year window. The United Kingdom estimates that individuals will have a two-year period to make an application after exit.
  • Conditions. The United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed that the conditions for acquisition of the new 'settled status' will be the same as those currently applicable under EU law for permanent residence applications.
  • Application fee. The application fee is expected to be no more than that of a British passport (approximately GBP 75).
  • EU permanent residents. A simplified process will also be available for those already holding an EU permanent residence document in the United Kingdom, including a reduced application fee.
  • Deadline unresolved. The note does not confirm the deadline by which EU nationals must have entered the United Kingdom to qualify for settled status.

Customs Processes – Impact on the Shipment of Household Goods

It has been reported that introducing customs declarations after Brexit could affect up to 180,000 UK traders, and could cost traders over £4 billion a year. Being ready for day one would require the UK government to orchestrate change across more than 30 government departments and public bodies, as well as over 100 local authority organizations.

Ports handling a lot of lorry traffic will be affected most by customs checks. Checks will take time and resources, and these risk causing jams. At the busiest ports, customs checks could  be much greater after Brexit.

We anticipate that in the short term, the increase in UK outbound shipments of household goods will challenge the capacity of the current providers to manage potentially large numbers of additional moves over the next year or so.

From a household goods perspective, to manage this effectively we will need to understand anticipated move volume per location. Where household goods shipments will be managed by Cartus, we will also need to anticipate timings of these moves.

If you have any specific concerns around policy and program guidance, please raise these directly with your Cartus representative and we will continue to update you as we learn more about the potential relocation impacts of Brexit.

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Cartus is the trusted industry leader, offering guidance on a wide range of topics related to global relocation using expertise gained through more than four million moves and a diverse client base.

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