True to predictions, Boris Johnson and his team achieved a trade deal with the EU to operate from 1 January 2021, and although there are generally no tariffs to pay on the movement of goods back and forth, this is far from free movement of goods.
Importers from and exporters to the EU will now need to deal with a raft of additional customs documentation. Firms affected who do not have the expertise in-house would be wise to consider using a qualified customs agent to act on their behalf, and therefore eliminate any delays and possible fines for not complying with the new regulations.
The new red-tape also applies to UK workers that want to take up or continue employment in the EU and EU workers that want employment in the UK. This may involve application for work permits or other licences.
UK visitors to Europe will need to accommodate longer delays at arrivals as the EU fast-track option will no longer be available. They will also need to ensure they have a valid health insurance card and have taken out travel insurance to cover any additional risks.
There is also a reasonable chance that there will be transport delays at border crossings between the UK and the EU as customs officials adjust to the new paper-work checks.
It will take time until we can judge the real impact of Brexit. Although we left the EU on 1st January 2020, we have been allowed to benefit from the continued benefits of EU membership during the period of transition that ended 1st January 2021. If affected, we will all need to factor in any additional costs or delays created by the post-Brexit arrangements.