From January 2021, the way businesses trade, hire staff, provide services, and use personal data with countries in the EU is changing. Whether we leave the EU with a deal or no deal, all businesses should consider how it may affect them and prepare accordingly.

What do I need to know?

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, we are now in a transition period that is due to end on 31 December 2020. When the transition period ends, we will have left the EU single market and customs union. This will mean new rules about goods and services, and living and working in the UK. The FMB is here to help you stay up to date, and get your business ready.

For the most recent information from the UK Government, and a personalised list of actions you may need to take, visit The UK Transition webpages, and Check, Change, Go.

Got a question?

Speak to our policy team on 020 7025 2934 or send us an email.

Email policy team

Hiring people from outside the UK

The UK’s new immigration system will treat EU and non-EU citizens the same. It will only allow workers to enter the UK as part of a points-based system. A business wishing to recruit someone from overseas will need to register as a licenced sponsor. More information on how to become a sponsor is available on the UK Government website. Getting a licence normally takes eight weeks and fees apply.

EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their families who wish to continue living in the UK after June 2021 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has also produced a guide with advice and information about the movement of people.  

Importing goods from the EU

From 1 January 2021, the way businesses import goods from the EU will change. All goods will be required to go through customs. Construction products may carry different markings, with the EU’s CE marking still applicable in some cases, and the UK’s Conformity Assessment (CA) in others. The CLC has produced detailed guidance on this issue.

Deal or no deal, it is possible that a degree of uncertainty over coming months will affect the availability of some building materials. The FMB is working closely with the product manufacturers, building merchants, and with government to minimise disruption. If you have any concerns or want to tell us about a shortage, get in touch with the Public Affairs team.

For businesses in Northern Ireland, the Withdrawal Agreement includes a protocol which avoids a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Trader Support Service provides special assistance to businesses in NI, including information on how to avoid supply chain disruption.

Data and contracts

Even though the UK has left the EU and is in a transition period, UK companies will still need to comply with GDPR because it is likely that they offer goods or services or monitor individuals in the EU. They must also comply with whatever UK version of the GDPR is implemented. The CLC produced a guide which outlines what businesses should be aware of.

How we are representing your views

We represent the views of small to medium-sized (SME) builders on the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Product Availability Group and Brexit Movement of People Working Group. The CLC speaks to Government on behalf of the wider industry.

Members of the FMB National Board attend these meetings, where intelligence on material shortages and price increases are shared with representatives of the manufacturers and merchants. This helps to ensure that the supply chain is in step and responsive to market conditions.

The Brexit Movement of People Working Group seeks to understand how the new immigration system may impact on the industry, and to provide supporting guidance. 

The CLC speaks to the Government on behalf of the wider industry.

Brexit webinar: Member-only

Latest updates

Get involved

Do you want to know more about this campaign or are you an FMB member and would like to get involved? Then please email our policy team.

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