Brexit explained | How will Brexit affect the relocation industry?

In June 2016, the British people were given the opportunity by David Cameron’s Government to vote in a referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or whether the UK should leave.

It is now 47 years since the UK first became a member of the Union, but following the decision of the British people in that 2016 referendum, the UK will now leave the EU on 31 January 2020. The UK will become the first member state to do so.

The default legal position is that the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020 — either under the terms of the negotiated divorce deal if it is ratified (the Withdrawal Agreement), or without an agreement if that does not happen, which is now highly unlikely.

With less than two weeks to go before the UK formally leaves the EU, a deal between the UK & EU has still to be formally agreed. However, following the Conservative’s emphatic victory in the recent UK General Election, the UK’s House of Commons voted on 20 December 2019 to pass the Brexit bill — finally paving way for the UK’s January 31 departure from the European Union after years of political deadlock.

On 9 January 2020, MPs gave their final backing to the bill that will implement the UK Government’s Brexit deal. This latest vote gives approval to an 11-month transition period – also known as an “implementation period” – after 31 January 2020, in which the UK will cease to be an EU member but will continue to follow its rules and contribute to its budget.

The passing of the bill through UK parliament and the now highly likely transition period which will follow, will be good news for us here at Elite Moving Systems Ltd, as well as our clients and the relocation industry as a whole. The purpose of the transition period is to give time for the UK and EU to negotiate their future relationship, including a trade deal and customs arrangements. 

This transition period would help avoid any sudden overnight changes to customs requirements, i.e. more vigorous checks being carried out and more documents required by customs officials at UK and French ports, plus, potential additional delays at the ports would be avoided (for now at least).

After the Withdrawal Agreement (WAB) becomes law in the UK, the WAB also needs to be ratified by the European Parliament. The stage will then be set for Brexit on 31 January 2020, when the post-Brexit transition period will begin.

The import/export relationship between the UK and non-EU countries will not change following Brexit.


What does a transition period mean for the relocation industry? 

If the Withdrawl Agreement between the UK and the EU is ratified, the UK will become a non-EU country (a third country) and will withdraw from the EU on 31 January 2020. The free movement of goods between the UK and the EU will continue during the proposed transition period, which will run until 31 December 2020.

During the transition period, the UK will be considered an EU country for the purposes of customs clearance. The free movement of goods between the EU and the UK will continue until the end of the transition period.

The obligation for customs clearance of goods moving between the UK and the EU will begin when the transition period is over.

The UK will therefore remain part of the Single Market and the EU Customs Union during any transition period. 


What would happen in the event of a No-Deal Brexit (which is now highly unlikely)?

If the transition period is implemented, No-Deal will be off the table and the UK will still benefit from the current agreement on the free movement of goods between EU countries. This means that for goods imported into the UK from another EU member state, duty-free entry of goods will still happen (apart from goods currently exempt from duty-free entry) and customs clearance procedures will remain the same as they are now.

In the event of a No-Deal outcome, the UK Government’s recent “Yellowhammer Report” advised of an additional time-scale for “delays” on shipments coming into and going out of the UK. This is in line with what we have also advised our customers, which is an additional 2 – 4 days on top of normal transit times currently in place.

With regard to the transportation of goods, it is possible that removal firms will need to custom clear goods, provide a commercial invoice and pay import duties.

The introduction of border checks between the UK and the EU could happen overnight and as the Government has already recognised, customs is a cliff-edge issue. On the day of the UK’s exit from the EU in the event of a No-Deal, the UK authorities will need to perform new functions and will face disruption at the border. There will be new document checks and fiscal requirements.

The introduction at UK customs of ToR (Transfer of Residence) for shipments coming to the UK from the EU by road, would almost certainly mean a delay in the shipper receiving their goods, as the transit time would be longer. Shipments would be held at French and UK road ports for longer, as more checks would have to take place – in particular, at the road ports of Dover, Folkestone and Ramsgate in the UK and at Calais and Le Harve in France.

As more vigorous checks will be needed and there will be more scrutiny on shipments to/from the UK/EU, this will mean delays. We do know that more staff have already been recruited at road ports in both the UK and in France.

Crews will be in Europe for longer than before, so the costs of a move may be greater as cost elements such as labour and vehicles are likely to increase. Those costs would have to be factored into the cost-planning of moves to and from the UK/EU in the event of a No-Deal outcome.


What is an EORI Number?

Either from 1 February 2020, or at the end of any transition period, it will be a requirement for any businesses transporting goods across Europe to have an EORI number. We already have our own EORI Number at Elite Moving Systems Ltd which starts with the letters GB.

An Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is a unique customs ID for businesses.  An EORI number issued by the UK will start with GB, followed by 12 digits. It will include the business’s VAT registration number if they are registered for VAT.

An EORI number from the EU starts with different letters depending on the country that issued it – for example, one issued in France will start with FR.



As of 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom will be a Member State of the European Union for the last day. From 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom will no longer be a Member State of the European Union. A transition period is likely to commence and will extend until 31 December 2020 when further information regarding the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be known.

Moving House? Tips on how to prepare for your move

It’s often said that moving house is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, on a par with divorce and bereavement. Research also confirms this statement to be true.

First, there’s the initial stress of viewing potential new homes to live in and showing complete strangers around your current property. Then there’s the tension and anxiety of the build-up to the actual move day itself. This is such a huge and important moment of your life and there is much for you to consider and plan for. It can be a huge upheaval, especially emotionally. Therefore, any assistance you receive should be helpful, responsive, professional, caring and informative.

No cutting corners

There should be no cutting corners when moving house. At Elite Moving Systems Ltd (EMS), we know that people really do appreciate the finer detail. Many of your items will be full of memories and will carry high sentimental value, so you won’t want to place the care and trust of your items in just anybody. It’s important that care and concern is shown at this stressful, but equally exciting, moment of your life.

What next, once you’ve found a new home?

You have just found your dream new home. You have had your offer accepted, so you now need to begin planning and making various arrangements.

Around 2-3 months before your move, you will need to find a conveyancing solicitor and you should compare different quotes and reviews. It’s essential that you arrange the legal formalities as early in the process as possible. This will ensure a smooth legal transaction of your property sale/purchase and will also allow for any delays. You should also take some time to research the facilities and amenities in the area that you are moving to.

You will also need to arrange your mortgage, so you need to contact mortgage providers and should compare different quotes and reviews.

If you’re renting a property, you will need to let your landlord know which date you are looking to move out. They would need to know this date in advance and you may have to give them a certain amount of notice.

If you have children, you will need to look at schools in the area that you’re moving to and this should really be done much further in advance, as you will need to make an application to the school of your choice, to ensure that your children are accepted. You would then need to transfer your children’s school records and order new school uniform as well.

Getting a Quote from a Removal Company

You should now start thinking about getting removal quotes, especially if you are moving the full contents of your house or apartment, as it’s always much easier to seek professional advice and assistance when moving house.

Here at Elite Moving Systems Ltd (EMS), we would be delighted to provide you with a quote for your move.

You should also check with your home insurance provider to see if your insurance policy will cover your removal. Home insurance providers usually cover moves within the UK, but they don’t usually cover international moves if you are moving overseas. In any case, most removals companies are usually able to provide insurance cover, wherever you’re moving to. Our advice would be to always take out some form of insurance cover, as damages can occur during transit, especially if you’re moving overseas. Check the rate you have been quoted for insurance and try to ensure that cover is in place as soon as possible.

It’s a good idea to keep a record or file of all documents and notes related to your move. These can include quotes, letters, e-mails, checklists, important numbers, deeds, dates and details of all conversations.

What should you do 4-6 weeks before your move?

Around 4-6 weeks before your move is the time when you need to start clearing out anything you don’t want to be moved to your new home. Some removal companies can offer a service where they will dispose of items on your behalf, for which an additional charge would be made. It’s always best to start by making a full checklist of all your major items so you know what you will be moving and are clear on anything that will need to be disposed of before the big day.

If you have not done so already, you now need to arrange for removal companies to perform a pre-move survey of your effects and it’s advisable to obtain estimates / quotes from at least three removal companies, so you can compare prices and services.

If you are moving within the UK

Before asking removal companies to visit you to perform a pre-move survey of your effects, you should ensure they are a member of BAR (British Association of Removers). This is the kite-mark of the industry and holding this accreditation means that a company has passed stringent tests and is regularly audited. Being a member of BAR also ensures that all members have set rules and regulations that they have to adhere to. The British Association of Removers has been dedicated to promoting professional excellence in the Removals Industry for more than 100 years and BAR is at the forefront of developing and maintaining professional standards and services for the benefit of its Members and their customers. EMS is a proud member of BAR.

If you are moving Overseas

Established in 1950, FIDI is the largest global alliance of independent, quality, international moving and relocation companies, who are specialised in moving household goods and personal effects from one country to another and from one continent to another. The FIDI Global Alliance is the only network of global mobility specialists who comply with an internationally recognised quality standard.

You should ensure that you only obtain quotes from removal companies who are members of BAR and also of FIDI (Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux, which translates to the International Federation of International Movers). EMS is a long-standing member of this affiliation.

The Pre-Move Survey

The pre-move survey will determine the volume of your effects, what materials are required, how long your move will take and it will also allow the estimator to assess the parking and access at your residence. The estimator may also need to view the access at your delivery address (if you are moving locally), should you have found a property to live in at that stage.

Buildings Survey and deciding where everything will go in your new home

Once you have found a new property, you now need to consider finding a RICS chartered surveyor to carry out a buildings survey at your new home.

You should think about where everything will go at your new home, although this can be difficult, as you don’t always know what Items will fit where until the items have been physically delivered. If you are down-sizing, you may require storage, another service which most removal companies can provide. EMS has storage facilities and can provide storage of your effects, if required.

If you have decided to pack any items yourself, you will need to purchase packing materials and your removals company will be able to supply you with such materials. However, packing items yourself can be very time consuming and there is also more chance of items being damaged during transit if the packing is not done by the professionals. In addition, most insurance companies will not be able to offer insurance cover if a professional removals company has not packed your items.

Furthermore – and certainly if you are moving overseas – as a general rule, “owner-packed” boxes are not allowed to be shipped due to security reasons. A red flag will be raised if a customs officer notices that a box has been written down on the packing list as being “owner-packed”. For overseas moves, the only items which a customer is usually be allowed to pack themselves are clothing items, linen, or books. However, these items should be packed into pre-delivered boxes by the removals company you are using and any box you pack yourself should be left unsealed so that the packing crew can check inside them at the time of packing – for insurance and security purposes, before your removals company of choice seals the boxes, lists and labels them at the time of packing.

Relocating with your company?

If you’re relocating due to your job, you should find out what expenses, if any, your employer will cover as each individual being relocated would usually be given a volume or weight allowance which must be adhered to. You will know if you are under or over your allowances once the initial pre-move survey of your effects has taken place.

It’s very important that the new home you have decided on moving into meets all your needs and requirements. Likewise, you should explore the local area and all its nearby amenities, plus look at how long it will take you to get to work each day. It’s even more important if you have a spouse and children that they are happy. In particular, you need to make sure that the new school your children will go to, is the most suitable option for all concerned and that your spouse is able to do things which makes them happy.

If you need any further advice or information, please contact us at EMS to discuss with our team further. We would be delighted to help.