Brexit Transition: How-To-Prepare Guide for Northern Ireland Professional
Services Sector
New business rules start on 01 January 2021. If you are a Northern Ireland professional
services sector business, there are important steps that you can take now to prepare for
changes. This guide highlights some of the most important actions. For further guidance,
access our Transition Checker for a personalised list of actions.
1. Be prepared on data protection and data transfers.
UK businesses need to be ready should there be no agreement on data flows as part of the
EU discussions. If your business receives personal data from the EU (including Ireland), you
should put alternative transfer mechanisms in place to enable continued and uninterrupted
legal flow of personal data from your EU counterparts.
There are five actions which you can take now to prepare for no agreement with the EU:
● Understand whether your business has personal data flowing from the EEA
● Understand who is transferring them such data
● Discuss with the EEA business counterpart the best alternative transfer mechanism
to adopt in order to maintain this data flow
● Ensure the mitigation measures is put in place, if necessary, by 1 January 2021
● Go to the Information Commissioner’s website, and particularly this page for further
2. Get your qualifications recognised by EU regulators to be able to practise or
service clients in the EU.
Starting the process to get your professional qualifications recognised by EU regulators by
31 December 2020 may help you to continue to practise your profession (e.g. accountancy,
engineering) in the EU.
If you need to take action to secure the recognition of your professional qualification in
Ireland, these sources can help you:
● NARIC Ireland, the information centre for academic and professional qualification
recognition in Ireland
● Irish Point of Single Contact website
● The UK’s national information centre for professional qualifications (currently UK
Under the Common Travel Area, the recognition of professional qualifications is an essential
facilitator of the right to work, so both the UK and Irish Governments have made a
commitment to ensure that appropriate arrangements for recognition are in place in the UK
and Ireland from the 1 January 2021.
Check here for further guidance for UK businesses selling services into the EU.
3. If the UK is not determined as equivalent on accounting, UK businesses listed
on other EEA markets will also need to comply with the relevant EEA reporting
For example, companies preparing accounts using International Financial Reporting
Standards (IFRS) may need to state that their accounts also comply with IFRS as issued by
the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).
In addition, some reporting and filing exemptions will no longer be available. We would urge
companies affected to check with the relevant EEA Member State Competent Authority.
For more information, please read the following letters that set out the changes to the UK’s
corporate reporting framework from 1 January 2021: click here.
4. If you provide online services to countries in the EEA, check if rules in those
countries newly apply.
In particular:
● Check whether you are in scope;
● Check where your service is based;
● Check for new legal requirements; and
● Consider any further steps that would help you prepare for the changes.
Click here for further information.
5. Replace .eu top level domain names
From 1 January 2021, you will no longer be able to register or renew .eu domain names if:
● Your organisation, business or undertaking is established in the UK but not in the
EU/European Economic Area (EEA); or
● You live outside of the EU/EEA and are not an EU/EEA citizen
Read the latest .eu domain names notice from the European Commission.
6. Check the requirements for providing services cross-border or establishing
and operating a business in the EU, including branches or subsidiaries, as
additional requirements or restrictions may apply.
If you have a UK business, you might face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or
direct a company registered in an EEA country or Switzerland from 1 January 2021.
UK citizens that own or run business operations in an EU country may need to comply with
different requirements (those which currently apply to non-EU countries) depending on the
country and sector they are operating in.
For more information on providing services click here, For more information on structuring
your business, click here
7. If you provide legal services, check practice rights in the EU, as UK lawyers
and firms will need to comply with the national framework for foreign lawyers
in each EU jurisdiction.
Contact the regulator in the country you intend to work in. For further guidance on this
action, click here.
8. Check if a visa or work permit is required to travel to the EU for work purposes
and apply if necessary.
From 1 January 2020 there may be changes to the way you travel to the EU and EFTA
(Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), as freedom of movement between the UK
and the EU and EFTA will have ended. It is therefore important to ensure that you check the
entry requirements of the EU / EFTA Member State you are going to ahead of time and
apply for any necessary documentation in advance. Check here for further guidance. Please
note that UK and Irish citizens will continue to be able to exercise their rights under the
Common Travel Area agreement.
9. Signpost your employees to the EU Settlement Scheme.
EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their family members can apply to continue living in the UK
after June 2021 under the EU Settlement Scheme.
If necessary, you and your employees should familiarise yourselves with the relevant
eligibility requirements to ensure they are able to stay and work in the UK, if they are eligible
under the scheme.
Further information can be found here.
10. Comply with the new immigration policies for recruiting from overseas.
The way you hire from the EU is changing. From 1 January 2021, you will need to register as
a licensed provider to hire eligible people from outside the UK. This does not apply to Irish
It is therefore crucial that you familiarise yourself with the requirements, processes and
Check here for further guidance.

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