The post-Brexit landscape has changed how people can move and work in mainland Europe for both employers and employees.

Freedom of movement between the UK and Europe ended on 31 December. The UK has a new immigration system where prospective employees earn points for their salary level, skills and qualifications, including proficiency in the English language. Those seeking work in the UK need to have a job offer from a sponsoring employer.

Inter-company transfers

Businesses that want to bring talent into the UK from another part of their global business are also subject to the rules. According to the government’s current guidance, employees transferring to the UK need to:

  • be sponsored as an Intra-Company Transfer by a Home Office licensed sponsor
  • have 12 months’ experience working for a business overseas linked by ownership to the UK business they will work for
  • be undertaking a role at the required skill level of RQF6 or above (graduate level equivalent)
  • be paid at least £41,500 or the “going rate” for the job, whichever is higher.

Such employees may work in the UK for up to five years in any six-year period. The rules for higher paid staff are more generous. Many businesses are likely to be Home Office licensed sponsors. Those that are not can apply here.

Business trips

The UK is not a member of the Schengen Area, in which there is freedom of movement. But the European Union adopted a regulation that confirms UK citizens may enter the area for short tourism and business trips. Such trips may not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa or work permit.

The rules for travelling for business purposes differ from country to country – they can be found here.

Some law firms recommend that those travelling for business should carry a letter from their business that explains:

  • the duration of their trip
  • what activities they will carry out
  • who will meet the costs of travel and subsistence?
  • details of where they are normally employed.

UK employees travelling to Europe will no longer be able to use the lanes reserved for EU citizens – which some experts say could add an hour to entry into a country. This could affect flight connections. The government has said that a new Global Health Insurance Card will replace the current EHIC system in future, but no details are currently available.

More friction

Overall, there is likely to be more friction in business travel into and out of Europe. Scott Davies, CEO of the UK and Ireland’s Institute of Travel Management, told Business travel news: “The deal which has been struck does not appear to directly address the need to minimize friction and paperwork for business travel to and from the EU. Previously, travel to the EU required little thought around entry requirements and permissions. Travelers will now potentially need to understand the conditions and rules that apply for each country.”