Brexit: Frequently Asked Questions

Brexit and employment

From 31 December 2020, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union for good, and Brexit will be a reality.

What should you do if you employ Brits or send staff to Britain? What are the consequences for your staff and your company? What steps should you take?

Here you will find answers to the most important questions about Brexit's impact on your employment.

That's how you'll soon say goodbye to Britain. 

Brexit: FAQs

Your employees are subject to Belgian rules on social security, withholding tax and labour law. This will not change because of Brexit.

If your employees already lived and worked in Belgium in 2020, they must regularise their stay in Belgium before 31 December 2021. They will be contacted by the Immigration Department. Please ask your employees in good time if they have taken the necessary steps. If they do not have a valid residence permit on 01/01/2022, you would be employing them illegally. This practice imposes hefty fines.

If your employees won't come to work in Belgium until 2021, they will be considered "foreigners". Chances are you'll have to apply for a single permit for them.

Tip: Avoid unnecessary paperwork by recruiting this employee before 31/12/2020, if he already has a valid residence permit in Belgium at that time.

Your employees are subject to UK rules on social security, taxes and, in principle, UK labour law. This will not change because of Brexit.

It is necessary to consider on an individual basis whether your employees need a UK residence permit and/or work permit from 1/1/2021.

You don't have to do anything yourself. The A1 document will remain valid until the end of the secondment. Employees under this statute are subject to UK social security until the end of their project. The Limosa notification also remains valid.

Inform the British employees that they must have a valid Belgian residence permit before 31/12/2020 if they are effectively residing in Belgium. This assures them that they can stay and work in Belgium validly after Brexit, without having to apply for a work permit for them. Seconded workers without a stay in Belgium will, as always, need a work permit from 01/01/2021 (unless an exception applies).

From 2021 onwards, the existing European social security rules will continue to play a role between the UK and Belgium. British workers can be seconded to Belgium for up to 24 months by their UK employer, while maintaining British social security.

A residence permit and/or work permit in Belgium will have to be applied for (unless an exception applies).

If this employee is already in this situation before 31/12/2020, You will need an A1 document and the current Social Security will just continue.  

If this employee is not employed simultaneously until after 1/1/2021, the same rules on simultaneous employment as before Brexit shall apply. Even then, an A1 document must be applied for.  

The tax situation does not change because of Brexit. If the employee had a tax split (e.g. in case of a salary split), he will also keep it.

Depending on the situation, residence and work permits in the other country must also be applied for. Some countries also require a visa.

If you are trading with the UK, you will now need to have an EORI number, i.e. an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number. You need this to identify yourself at customs to import or export goods from within the European Union to or from another non-European country. And since the UK is no longer part of the European Union, you now need this number for your customs formalities.

No EORI number yet? Acerta is happy to sort this out for you.

If you suffer a loss of turnover or a drop in production of at least 5% because of Brexit, then you can be recognised as an 'employer in economic difficulties'. This recognition entitles you to three temporary support measures provided for in the 'Brexit Act' of 6 March 2020. The measures enter into force on 22 March 2021 and expire on 21 March 2022. They are temporary unemployment, time credit and reduced working hours. You can read more about the recognition and the procedures in the blog about the support measures in response to Brexit.

More questions?

Do you have more questions about a specific situation in your company? Our experts in international employment will be happy to assist you. 

Ask your question