Visas and work permits: what are the rules for artists touring in Europe after Brexit?

More than half of EU Member States have agreed to offer UK musicians and performers visa and work permit-free travel, it has been confirmed.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) said the agreement will give UK artists the confidence to continue performing in Europe.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the agreement?

Following the end of the transition period, 20 EU member states have agreed to continue offering UK artists visa and work permit-free travel (usually up to three months).

This will enable musicians, performers, and other creative professionals to tour abroad easily without facing legal barriers.

Who do the rules apply to?

The rules apply to touring performers (such as soloists, groups, orchestras, dancers, actors, comedians, magicians, circus artists and singers) and support staff (such as sound engineers, technicians, directors, choreographers, producers, and agents).

Which countries are offering visa and work permit-free travel?

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Which countries are not offering visa and work permit-free travel?

Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus.

The Government said it is “actively engaging” with these countries and calling on them to align their arrangements with the UK’s rules.

Are there any other requirements?

Durations and requirements vary from Member State to Member State. The Government has created a checklist to help touring artists navigate Europe, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

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UK Border Force bans EU, EEA and Swiss national ID cards: what you need to know

Almost all “insecure ID cards” from the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland will no longer be accepted at UK borders, the Government has confirmed.

The move is designed to strengthen UK border controls following a rapid rise in false documents.

Here’s what businesses need to know.

What are insecure ID cards?

“Insecure ID cards” are defined as national identity (ID) cards issued by resident countries.

According to Border Force officers, European ID cards are the “most abused documents”, accounting for almost half of all false documents detected at the border.

A new ID card security standard is being introduced across the EU, but these will not be mandatory for at least another five to 10 years.

What is changing?

From 1 October 2021, almost all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will need a valid passport to enter the UK.

Those who have settled or pre-settled status can continue to use national ID cards until 31 December 2025.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can continue to use ID cards to travel within the single market.

What do businesses need to do?

If you employ EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals, or are welcoming guests from these regions, and they do not have settled or pre-settled status, you will need to ensure they have a valid passport before travelling.

New laws “delivering on the people’s priority to take back control of our immigration system”

Commenting on the changes, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK has a proud history of being open to the world, and Global Britain will continue in that tradition. But we must clamp down on the criminals that seek to enter our country illegally using forged documents.

“We are doing this as part of our New Plan for Immigration, which will be firm on those who seek to abuse the system, and fair on those who play by the rules.”

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Brexit: New immigration rules to help alleviate Britain’s HGV crisis

New immigration rules and regulations will be introduced to help fix Britain’s HGV crisis, the Government has announced.

It comes after thousands of European HGV drivers left the UK at the end of the Brexit transition period – resulting in significant delays across the country.

If you move goods in the UK or overseas, here’s what you need to know.

Is there an HGV shortage?

According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA), there is an estimated shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers in the UK. This includes 15,000 European drivers that returned home after the UK left the EU earlier this year.

The shortage has also been attributed to Covid-19 disruption. Loadstar, for example, found that the UK Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) had cancelled “at least” 30,000 HGV tests last year due to coronavirus-related issues.

This is leading to widespread problems in the supply chain, including the widely reported fuel crisis and wastage; Tesco is reportedly binning 50 tonnes of fresh food every week because it cannot get produce delivered to stores in time.

What are the new immigration rules?

The Government says up to 5,000 HGV drivers will be allowed to come to the UK to ease temporary supply chain pressures in food haulage industries.

Under the new immigration measures, 300 fuel drivers will be given permission to arrive immediately and stay until the end of March 2022.

Around 4,700 additional food haulage drivers will then arrive from late October and leave by the end of February 2022 under the new temporary visa rules.

The application process – expected to form part of the T5 Seasonal Worker scheme – is not limited to certain nationalities.

As part of this initiative, 5,500 visas will also be made available to overseas poultry workers “to avoid any potential further pressures on the food industry during this exceptional period”.

The measures come after the Government ruled out issuing visas to foreign workers earlier this year – signalling a U-turn in immigration policy.

What else is the Government doing?

  • “Free, short, intensive” HGV courses will be launched to train up to 4,000 drivers to be road-ready and gain a category C or category C&E licence
  • Defence Driving Examiners (DDEs) will be deployed to increase the country’s testing capacity
  • One million letters will be sent to former HGV drivers to encourage them to return to the profession
  • Road haulage sector is “taking steps” to improve the industry, including increased wages, flexible working and fixed hours.

Measures welcomed by industry

Welcoming the changes to immigration policy, the Food and Drink Federation’s Chief Executive, Ian Wright, said: “This is something UK food and drink manufacturers have asked for over the last few months to alleviate some of the pressure labour shortages have placed on the food supply chain.

“This is a start but we need the government to continue to collaborate with industry and seek additional long-term solutions.”

Elizabeth de Jong, Logistics UK’s Director of Policy, added: “Logistics UK welcomes the government package of measures aimed at improving the ongoing driver crisis. The government’s decision to grant 5,000 temporary visas for HGV drivers to help in the short term is a huge step forward; we are so pleased the government has listened to our calls and has made this bold decision to support the UK economy.

“We are also delighted that DfT have agreed to jointly send nearly one million letters to all drivers who currently hold an HGV driving licence. With fantastic HGV driving opportunities available in the logistics industry, now is the perfect time to consider returning to the occupation.”

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Retained EU laws to be “improved or repealed” if they do not benefit British businesses

Retained EU Legislation will be “improved or repealed” if it does not benefit UK businesses, the Government has announced.

The move forms part of the Government’s plans to “capitalise on new Brexit freedoms” following the UK’s departure earlier this year.

If you run a business in the UK, here’s what you need to know.

What is ‘retained EU legislation’?

Despite officially leaving the EU earlier this year, thousands of EU rules and regulations were automatically kept on the statute book. This may be due to time constraints or points of contention that could not be resolved before the end of the transition period.

Which EU laws will be reviewed?

In essence, all of them. The Government said “thousands” of EU laws will be scrutinised to ensure they are “helping the UK to thrive”.

GDPR, transport, AI, and farming at heart of review

The “burdensome” General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is among the regimes to be reviewed, the Government has revealed. Proposed reforms were published earlier this year, setting out a “pro-growth, trusted data rights regime, which is more proportionate and less burdensome than the EU’s GDPR rules”.

EU vehicle standards will also be reviewed, enabling the UK to become a leader in “future technologies like autonomous maritime vessels, self-driving cars and drones”.

Artificial intelligence and farming will also be prioritised in the review.

Further individual regulatory reforms can be found here.

How will this affect British businesses?

While cutting red tape and bureaucracy, it has been suggested that the review will aim to remove the “special status” that EU retained law “still enjoys in our legal framework” and “determine how best to ensure that UK courts can no longer give undue precedence to EU-derived laws in future”.

This means certain regulations will no longer apply in the UK, meaning businesses may be forced to adapt to new rules.

The Government added, however, that it will provide businesses with “legal certainty” throughout the review.

“Overbearing regulations were often conceived and agreed in Brussels with little consideration of the UK national interest”

Commenting on the review, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, Lord Frost, said: “From rules on data storage to the ability of businesses to develop new green technologies, overbearing regulations were often conceived and agreed in Brussels with little consideration of the UK national interest.

“We now have the opportunity to do things differently and ensure that Brexit freedoms are used to help businesses and citizens get on and succeed.

“Today’s announcement is just the beginning. The Government will go further and faster to create a competitive, high-standards regulatory environment which supports innovation and growth across the UK as we build back better from the pandemic.”

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Revised Brexit timetable to give businesses “more time to adjust”

A revised Brexit timetable will give businesses “more time to adjust” to new trading processes, it has been suggested.

The new schedule comes after concerns that firms are now focusing on recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic, rather than new customs declarations and controls.

Here’s what you need to know.

Full customs declarations and controls to be introduced in January 2022 as planned

As previously announced, full customs declarations and controls will come into force on 1 January 2022.

The option to use the deferred declaration scheme – including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported – will be available until the end of the year.

Pre-notification of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods delayed until January 2022

The requirements for pre-notification of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods – set to be introduced from 1 October 2021 – will now come into force on 1 January 2022.

SPS goods include live animals, products of animal origin (POAO), high-risk food not of animal origin, plants and plant products, and ISPM 15-compliant wood packaging material.

If you are moving SPS goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland from 1 January 2022, you must pre-notify the consignment by creating a Common Health Entry Document (CHED).

Export Health Certificates requirements delayed until July 2022

Requirements for Export Health Certificates (EHC) will now come into force on 1 July 2022, rather than 1 October 2021.

An EHC is an official document that confirms your export meets the health requirements of the destination country.

From July 2022, you must apply for an EHC if you’re exporting or moving live animals or animal products from Great Britain to, or through, the EU, non-EU countries, or Northern Ireland.

Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks delayed until July 2022

Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks on SPS goods at Border Control Posts will now be introduced on 1 July 2022. They were due to be introduced on 01 January 2022.

Phytosanitary certificates and documents issued in the country of origin prove that the consignment is bio-secure.

Safety and security declarations now not required until 1 July 2022

Safety and Security declarations on imports – which were due to be introduced on 1 January 2022 -will now be required from 1 July 2022.

New timetable allows businesses to “focus on their recovery”

Commenting on the changes, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, Lord Frost, said: “We want businesses to focus on their recovery from the pandemic rather than have to deal with new requirements at the border, which is why we’ve set out a pragmatic new timetable for introducing full border controls.

“Businesses will now have more time to prepare for these controls which will be phased in throughout 2022.

“The Government remains on track to deliver the new systems, infrastructure and resourcing required.”

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Employment: Brexit continues to disrupt job market

Coronavirus disruption and Brexit continues to disrupt the job market despite record numbers of staff returning from furlough, the latest statistics have revealed.

If you are an employer, here’s what you need to know.

Employment remains below pre-pandemic levels

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that the number of payroll employees increased by 182,000 to 28.9 million in July 2021 – the latest data available.

But this remains 201,000 below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.

Job vacancies also increased to a record high of 953,000 in July, with early estimates for September suggesting that vacancies now top one million for the “first time”.

Commenting on the figures, Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Although the changes to self-isolation rules will help, with many firms facing a more deep-rooted squeeze on labour supply from the impact of COVID and Brexit, staff shortages may persistently weigh on economic activity.”

Number of EU nationals seeking work in the UK falls

The number of EU citizens searching for work in Britain has also fallen by 36 per cent since Brexit.

The figures, published by online jobs board Indeed, suggest that the hospitality, care, and warehouse sectors have been hit the hardest, recording declines of up to 41 per cent.

Around 1.3 million non-UK workers are estimated to have left the UK since late 2019, meanwhile.

Indeed said tough post-Brexit immigration rules are having a greater impact on recruitment than the coronavirus pandemic.

“Lower-paid roles are not receiving the same attention from foreign workers as they did only two years ago. It means domestic workers may be required to fill the gaps,” said Jack Kennedy, a UK economist at Indeed.

“However, with many sectors, including hospitality, already struggling to recruit all the staff they need, higher salaries may be required to attract UK workers to fill those roles.”

Job postings with vaccination requirements “on the rise”

The proportion of job postings per million that require being vaccinated against Covid-19 rose by 34 per cent in August compared to the previous month, figures reveal.

Jobs postings that require vaccinations but don’t specifically mention coronavirus were also up 90 per cent compared to July.

Indeed Economist AnnElizabeth Konkel suggests that employers may be trying to “hedge against the risk of having a sick workforce” in turbulent times.

“Even if you are a 100 per cent remote software engineer, at some point you’re probably going to go to a conference or an offsite retreat or meet your manager for coffee,” she warned.

Rise in “urgent job postings”

According to Indeed, the proportion of job postings including the terms “hiring urgently,” “urgent hire,” “immediate start,” “urgent vacancy” or “start today” increased from 1.6 per cent in January to 2.3 per cent last month. The adverts were primarily posted by employers in sectors such as loading and stocking, food preparation and service, and hospitality and tourism.

The job site said employers may need to consider additional hiring incentives to attract job seekers, such as a sign-on bonus or flexible working.

Driver crisis – the wider impact

The media has been awash with news of goods not hitting the shelves or reaching manufacturers due to a driver crisis.

Estimates suggest that the nation needs an additional 80,000 – 100,000 HGV drivers on the road, and yet many in the haulage industry are reporting difficulties recruiting existing drivers, partly due to many EU citizens returning home.

However, some 60,000 licensed HGV drivers in the UK are thought to be working in other industries and despite significant wage rises and incentives from businesses, unions say many no longer have a desire to work in logistics.

The shortage of drivers is having an impact on the price of goods and materials, as haulage firms pass on the costs of recruitment and retention to customers, who in turn are increasing the price consumers pay for their products and services.

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Brexit and immigration: the key dates you need to know about

Despite ‘officially’ leaving the European Union in January this year, there are still a number of loose ends that need tying up.

In fact, the Brexit deal itself includes transitional rules that span from 2021 to 2028. While many of these rules relate to trade and customs, immigration is a matter yet to be fully resolved.

So, if you are a business that employs EU nationals, here are the key dates and deadlines you need to know about.

30 June 2021: the EU Settlement Scheme deadline

While the deadline has technically passed, the Government said EU and EEA citizens and family members who apply late will have their rights protected pending the outcome of their application and any appeal.

Commenting on the scheme, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster, said: “Every day thousands of people are being given status through the hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme. We’ve worked hard to ensure the vast majority applied before the 30 June deadline and are now supporting those making late applications.”

According to the latest statistics, more than five million European workers and their families have now been granted settled status.

30 March 2022: UK nationals’ right to return with EU or non-EU national family members

From 30 March next year, close family members – for example, spouses and children – of British citizens moving to the UK will need to apply for a family visa. This means the minimum income requirement (currently £18,600) will apply.

If you are bringing children, you and your partner will need to earn an extra £3,800 for your first child and £,2400 for each child you have after your first child.

If you return to the UK on or before 29 March 2022, you will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme instead.

31 December 2025: EU national ID cards “no longer valid for entry”

According to Home Office guidance, EU national ID cards may no longer be valid for entry to the UK after 31 December 2025. Until this date, ID cards can be used when you have:

  • settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30th June 2021 but have not received a decision yet
  • an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • a frontier worker permit
  • are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
  • are a Swiss national and have a Service Provider from Switzerland visa.

2028: UK courts in the EU

After 2028, UK courts will no longer be required to send questions relating to the rights of EU citizens living in the UK to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

According to a House of Commons briefing paper: “UK courts retain the power to send preliminary references to the CJEU about the meaning of any aspect of Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement for a period of eight years after the end of the transition period. Questions about EU citizens’ rights in the UK can thus continue to be submitted to the CJEU until at least the end of 2028”.

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Government to launch new animal welfare standards following EU departure

New legislation will protect the welfare of farm animals being transported across England and Wales, the Government has announced.

EU directives had previously prevented any changes to animal welfare rules, but now that the UK has left the single market, the UK Government is free to improve standards and regulations.

Here’s what we know about the reforms so far.

What is changing?

According to the consultation document, farm animals will benefit from improved welfare standards compared to those currently afforded under the EU regime.

This includes shorter journey times, more headroom, and “stricter rules” on being moved in extreme temperatures.

Here’s a summary of the proposals:

  • Introducing shorter maximum journey times for live animals – between four and 24 hours depending on the species of animal
  • Giving animals more headroom during transport
  • Stricter rules on the transport of animals during extreme hot or cold temperatures
  • Better training for animal transporters
  • New guidance on an animal’s fitness to travel.

The Government says the new rules – which have been developed in partnership with the farming industry – come in addition to the proposed ban on live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, currently going through Parliament as part of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.

When will the new rules apply?

The new legislation will apply to any animal being transported within England and Wales for journeys over 65 km. This is also likely to include animals being transported abroad via England or Wales or animals exported into England and Wales from overseas.

“Opportunity to change legislation and make substantial improvements to animal welfare in transport”

Commenting on the new standards, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We are legislating to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening, and are now developing other measures to improve the welfare of animals during transport.

“We have listened to the concerns raised relating to our proposed changes to transport regulations and have made changes to address these. We will continue to work with industry on the remaining details.”

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