So long and thanks for all the fish - UK and EU agree Brexit trade deal

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

So long and thanks for all the fish - UK and EU agree Brexit trade deal

Related tags brexit Immigration

The UK and European Union have agreed a post-Brexit trade deal.

While details of the deal are thin on the ground at the time of writing, a statement from the UK Government has confirmed that 'the deal is done' and that 'everything the British people were promised during the 2016 referendum and the general election last year is delivered by this deal'.

Disputes over fishing rights and future business competition rules have been the major hurdles to agreement during months of often fraught talks between the two sides. 

The UK will leave the EU single market and customs union on 1 January, at which point new arrangements allowing for tariff-free trade in goods and close police and judicial cooperation will come into force.

A parliamentary vote on the deal will take place on 30 December. 

Describing the UK as now being a 'third country', European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference this afternoon (24 December) that it was a 'good deal'.

"It is a fair and a balanced deal, and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides," she said.

One area where the hospitality sector will certainly be significantly impacted as a result of Brexit is in its ability to recruit overseas workers. 

Freedom of movement will be replaced with a new points-based immigration system designed to favour workers who are judged to be ‘high-skilled’, and end ‘low-skilled’ migration from the bloc. 

Those wishing to come and work in the UK from the EU under the new system would have to secure a job with a minimum salary threshold of £25,600.

Employees earning less than £25,600, but more than £20,480, would still be able to apply for a visa if it was to work in a 'specific shortage occupation' role; while anyone earning less than £20,480 would not be able to take a job in the country.

British companies wishing to employ overseas workers must be registered on the Government visa scheme from 1 January. This will enable them to obtain a licence to sponsor applicants on a Tier 2 or ‘General’ work visa, which is the main UK visa route for skilled workers.

Previously the scheme only applied to workers from outside Europe.

Earlier this month data from Lumina Intelligence’s new Top of Mind Report 2020/21 revealed that business leaders across the UK food and drink industry remain unclear on the impact that Brexit will have​ on their business over the coming 12 months.

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