European Union (EU)-Wales business mobility and recognition of qualifications


The Welsh Government and UK government has issued guidance on business travel into Wales for EU / European Economic Area (EEA) / Swiss citizens after Wales leaves the EU and for recognition of professional qualifications. The EU Commission has also published proposals for Welsh business travellers in the EU and for recognition of professional qualifications.

EU business travel to Wales

Up until 1 January 2021, there will be no changes to travel requirements for EU / EEA / Swiss citizens wishing to visit Wales

Wales business travel to the EU

The European Commission has proposed granting Welsh /UK citizens visa-free travel in the EU / EEA & Switzerland for business meetings, training, sports / cultural events and short-term study for up to 90 days in any 180 day period. People who need to exceed this limit, may require a visa or permit from the individual Member State. There will be other changes for business travellers to consider including, for example, the use of passports, carrying currency and driving.

Recognition of professional qualifications

From exit day, 1 January 2021, the current system of mutual recognition of professional qualifications will no longer apply. EEA professional service providers will need to apply to the relevant Welsh / UK regulator and will be treated in the same way as third countries’ service providers.

Welsh / UK nationals seeking recognition to provide services in regulated professions in the EEA will need to check the host state’s policies. The European Commission has published guidance on professional qualifications. Where Welsh / UK nationals have already been recognised by an EU country as holding valid professional qualifications this will remain valid after Wales/UK leaves the EU. The EU Commission has advised holders of qualifications obtained in UK before Wales and the UK leaves the EU to obtain recognition in a EU27 Member State before the end of the UK Transition Period on 31 December 2020.

Your business should consider

•    How will your future travel to the EU for the servicing of contracts or other purposes be affected?
•    Are you and your employees aware of changes to rules around passport use and other travel changes?
•    Will there be changes to requirements for travelling by air, rail and other modes?
•    What will be your skills and labour needs over the next few years?
•    Will you need to hire someone from outside the UK?
•    What steps will you need to take to hire them?
•    Could different arrangements (remote working) be feasible for your business?

Resources and information

Find out if you need to renew your passport before you travel to Europe from 1 January 2021 and which countries the new rules apply to: Passport rules for travel to Europe from 1 January 2021

Get advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings: Foreign travel advice

Information for Welsh and UK nationals living in the EU, EEA, EFTA, Switzerland and Ireland, including guidance on residency, healthcare and the Withdrawal Agreement: Living in Europe

Travel and passenger rights and the measures in place to minimise disruption from 1 January 2021: Passenger travel to the EU by air, rail or sea from 1 January 2021

Eurostar has stated that, in relation to ‘turn up and go’ services,” We don't anticipate any impact to our service in the event Wales leaves the EU without a deal. We advise making sure that you have six months' validity at least on your passport at the time of your journey.”

Staff may require a visa to undertake any work in the EU. How to prepare if you’re planning on travelling to Europe from 1 January 2021: Visit Europe from 1 January 2021. If you transfer staff between businesses in your group, or run a graduate training scheme, future restrictions may apply. Current non-EEA Intra Company Transfers fall under the UK’s Tier 2 sponsorship arrangements UK visa sponsorship for employers: UK visa sponsorship for employers.

If you are an employer

•    Support your EU citizen staff to access the required documentation: EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit this toolkit equips you with the right materials and information to support EU citizens to apply to stay in Wales or the UK.
•    We want all EU citizens in Wales to be able to continue living and working here after the EU transition, and to have the right to access all the services and benefits that they do now. See information for employers: EU citizens – we want you to stay in Wales
•    Consider up skilling your workforce – see the Skills Gateway support


Workforce and future skills needs


The Welsh Government and UK government has issued guidance for employers of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who wish to live and work in the UK after EU exit.

EU citizens already in Wales or arriving before 31 December 2020

EU nationals and their family members who have lived in Wales for at least five years by 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for UK Settled Status. Those who have been here for less than 5 years, can apply for Pre-Settled status until they meet the full criteria. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

Irish citizens do not need to apply to the settlement scheme to protect their rights in Wales, unless they wish to. Non-Irish, non-British family members of Irish citizens will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they want to stay in the Wales after 31 December 2020.

EU citizens arriving in Wales after 31 December 2020

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens newly arriving in Wales between 31 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 can apply for Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

EU citizens arriving in Wales after 1 January 2021

EU citizens arriving in Wales on or after 1 January 2021 will need to apply under the UK’s new immigration system.

Your business should consider

What percentage of your Welsh workforce is from the EU27?

Do your staff know the next steps to take to register as an EU citizen working in the Wales?

What can you do to help retain skills and labour?

Resources and information

The EU Settlement Scheme is open to 30 June 2021. Applications are free of charge: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

The Home Office has published an Employer Toolkit which covers the key details of the EU Settlement Scheme, information and materials with which to support affected staff and their families: EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit

Guidance is now available on GOV.UK in 23 official EU languages, as well as in Norwegian, Icelandic and Welsh. There are also other translated assets, which include:

Home Office guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme Assisted Digital service: Get help with your online Home Office application for applicants who don’t have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to complete the form. The locations where people can get a biometric ID document scanned if they do not have an Android device with near field communication (NFC) can be found here: EU Settlement Scheme: ID document scanner locations

Home Office have published guidance on organisations funded to provide support to vulnerable and at-risk EU citizens applying to the EU Settlement Scheme: EU Settlement Scheme: community support for vulnerable citizens

UK government has released a policy paper outlining the UK government's action to protect the rights of Welsh and UK nationals living in the EU: Policy paper on the rights of UK nationals in the EU

The UK government has announced arrangements for EU citizens arriving in Wales and the UK during the EU transition period and before the new skills-based immigration system is introduced in 2021. Updated guidance for EU citizens:

•    Continue to live in the UK if you're an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
•    No deal immigration arrangements for EU citizens arriving after EU transition

Information for employers on employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK, covering right to work checks, the EU Settlement Scheme and the UK’s new immigration system: Employing EU citizens in the UK