How British businesses in France can prepare for work after Brexit

How British businesses in France can prepare for work after Brexit
Photo: AFP
As Brexit trade talks continue, the French government is providing help for businesses and people whose work involves both France and the UK.

While discussion of trade talks often focuses on people who export physical goods between France and the UK, the changes after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31st 2020 could also affect people who live in France but provide services in the UK – for example online teaching, translation, writing and web-based services – as well as people who regularly travel between France and the UK for work.

With just months to go and several issues still locked in deadlock, it has been difficult for businesses to prepare, since they don't know what the new trading regime will involve. EU negotiator Michel Barnier is sounding increasingly pessimistic about a deal, but there are still several weeks of negotiating to come.

If no deal is reached, the UK will default to trading on WTO terms, although the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement which allow people already resident in France to remain here will not be affected by a 'no deal' scenario in trade.

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While acknowledging the difficulty of providing concrete information amid so much uncertainty, the French government has set up an online tool that allows people to find out whether they will be affected by changes to trade rules, and what some of these effects are likely to be.

It can be used by French nationals living in the UK, British nationals living in France or companies that employ British of French nationals and focuses on issues such as transport, import and export regulations and the new regulations around providing a service between countries.

The French government's decree on citizens' rights of February 2019 allows British people or businesses legally resident in France to continue to carry out their professional activities after the end of the transition period for the strict purpose of fulfilling contracts that are already in place.

For new contracts, however, the rules are likely to be different and will depend on the agreement reached between the EU and UK negotiators.

To find out more, click here to find the online tool.

The French finance ministry, which created the tool, said: “From January 1st, 2021, the United Kingdom will be considered by the European Union as a third country. Therefore, it is essential that companies anticipate and prepare for Brexit and the changes it will bring, identifying the consequences for their business and taking decisions to limit them.”

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