U.K. Parliament Passes Brexit Trade Agreement

The U.K. Parliament voted in favor of a trade agreement between the U.K. and EU allowing for it to take effect on 1 January 2021.

The United Kingdom (U.K.) Parliament approved the agreement to determine the trade relationship between the U.K. and European Union (EU) following the Brexit transition period. U.K. and EU negotiators reached the deal on 24 December with the support of EU Ambassadors from the 27 EU member states. The House of Commons signed off on the agreement followed by the House of Lords. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement went into effect on 1 January 2021 and therefore avoids a no-deal scenario.

Under the deal, there will be no tariffs or quotas on trade between the U.K. and EU member states. Any disputes over trade will be addressed through a judicial review process as opposed to the European Court of Justice. For the next five and a half years, the EU will reduce fishing quotas in U.K. waters by 25%. The agreement also allows for the continued freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and people along the Irish land border.

The agreement does not change the terms of the end of the freedom of movement of people between the U.K. and EU. Travelers between the U.K. in EU will be subject to border checks and visas will now be required for U.K. citizens to reside, study and work in the EU, and vice versa. EU citizens relocating to the U.K. will need to follow the same U.K. immigration policies as non-EU citizens.

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement comes almost 4 and a half years after voters in the U.K. supported a withdrawal from the EU and the last major hurdle needed to be addressed.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The trade agreement avoids a no-deal Brexit that would negatively impact businesses in the U.K. and damage the economies of Europe and their supply chains. This would trickle down to businesses relocating to the U.K., who may already be struggling due to the COVID-19 crisis. Worldwide ERC® will continue to provide any updates to this matter, and should any member have questions, please reach out to Vice President, Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, rpeters@worldwideerc.org.