As of January 2021, the way businesses trade, hire staff, provide services, and use personal data with countries in the EU has changed.

What do I need to know?

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020, and the transition period under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement ended on 31 December 2020. The UK is no longer a member of the EU single market and customs union. New rules about goods and services, and living and working in the UK apply. The FMB is here to help you stay up to date.

For the most recent information from the UK Government, and to see how Brexit affects you, visit the government's Brexit website.

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 treats EU and non-EU citizens the same. It only allows 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 have until 30 June 2021 to 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

They way businesses export and import goods to and from the EU has changed. All goods are required to go through customs. Construction products may now 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.

Builders are reporting difficulties with 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, UK companies still need to comply with GDPR because it is likely that they offer goods or services or monitor individuals in the EU. UK companies will also need to comply with the domestic version of GDPR when it 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.


Watch our webinar on how to prepare for the post-transition period:

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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