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Brexit questions answered: A few things of note about what will change

Brexit continues to trundle towards us – here’s a bit more information about what is changing.

Farmer Gerard McArdle welcome an Irish and French minister during a visit to his dairy farm in Faughart, Co. Louth, close to the border with Northern Ireland. July 2019.
Farmer Gerard McArdle welcome an Irish and French minister during a visit to his dairy farm in Faughart, Co. Louth, close to the border with Northern Ireland. July 2019.
Image: PA Images

AS WE APPROACH the end of the transition period that was to prepare people for Brexit Part II, or the UK’s exit from the EU’s Single Market and the Customs Union, there are a few changes that are worth highlighting. 

Last week, we took a general overview of how Brexit ‘in practice’ would change things in Ireland: in short, it will mean a increased checks at ports and airports, new customs procedures for importers and exports, and additional costs when buying from the UK.

We had a few questions in from readers about what Brexit will mean for them, so here’s our attempt to answer some of them (we’re still working on answers for other queries).

I’m moving to the UK next year – will it be more difficult?

Irish citizens can continue to travel to the UK because of Common Travel Area rights and privileges, which pre-date Ireland and the UK’s membership of the European Union.

This is the same for British citizens moving here: both can continue to live, work, study and access services, including health and education services, as is the case now.

There are additional hurdles for other EU citizens arriving in the UK, however. The UK is introducing a points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021. 

Will British professional qualifications be recognised in Ireland?

brexit Source: PA

Existing EU professional qualifications will continue to be recognised in the UK, and likewise, existing UK qualifications will continue to be recognised in the EU.

This ‘grandfathering’ measure is contained in the Withdrawal Agreement.

But – any person applying to have their qualification recognised for the first time from 1 January 2021 will no longer be covered by the EU’s Professional Qualifications Directive.

The recognition of new UK qualifications in Ireland and the rest of the EU, and vice-versa, will be possible after 31 December, but will be based on national rules and processes “and will be more complex”, according to the Irish government.

On rules of origin for Northern Ireland

The Department of Foreign Affairs has emphasised that after 31 December, UK products and materials (this includes Northern Ireland goods) will no longer be considered as “of EU origin” for the purposes of international trade.

This could prove particularly difficult for farmers and producers of agri-foods on the island of Ireland, which operate on an all-island basis, dairy farmers in particular.

Though Northern Irish goods will continue to circulate freely in the EU Single Market, as Northern Ireland will abide by the rules of the EU’s Customs Code while remaining part of the UK’s customs territory.

When exporting outside of the EU, Northern Irish goods are considered ‘UK goods’ for the purposes of ‘rules of origin’ requirements.

On safety certs

From 1 January 2021, British regulators or ‘notified bodies’ will no longer be allowed to certify products as being compliant with EU rules and standards in respect of specific regulatory controls, public safety and health.

This means that British notified bodies giving a safety approval on a product will now mean something different than the EU’s (though it’s possible the UK will maintain the same standards as the EU in most cases). 

What are my consumer rights?

EU consumer protection legislation may no longer apply to items bought from the UK, meaning you may no longer be able to return a product after 14 days.

The advice is to check the terms and conditions on the website of a British retailer before purchasing.

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A quick note on: The UK landbridge

Irish hauliers will be permitted to transport goods through the UK without undergoing full customs import and export formalities – whether that’s possible to do without getting stuck in a traffic jam is another question entirely.

But there will be new requirements (including new paperwork) and the need for each consignment to have a financial guarantee in place to cover the potential customs duties and other taxes at risk during the movement.

Hauliers have also been reminded by the Department of Foreign Affairs to be aware of the UK’s Border Operating Model.

If you have a Brexit question you want answered, feel free to email it to us: grainne@thejournal.ie. 

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