Brexit rules hit Brits heading to EU ‘I should have gone to Wales – not Sicily!’

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Britons have shared their travel stories in recent days, with some saying that going abroad is now a “headache”. Some people have regretted going on holiday, while others are finding it increasingly difficult to work abroad.

Covid is not the only reason travel looks different now to what it did two years ago.

Brexit is also to blame for the more difficult, time-consuming process, which has made it harder not only to travel to the EU, but to work there too.

Even though immigration-related changes took effect once the agreed transition period ended on December 31, 2020, the new Brexit rules are largely only being felt now.

Frank Jura, CIBTvisas and Newland Chase managing director for Germany and Austria, said: “We see more and more clients face the reality of Brexit over the past couple of months where actually it causes friction for a UK national needing to work in the EU and vice versa.”

Tobias Schönborn, managing director of mobility service provider visumPOINT agreed.

He stressed the issue of allowing UK passport holders only to visit the EU visa-free for 90 days in any 180-day period.

“Last year no one really travelled but now that people are starting to travel again, 90 days is proving very tough for frequent travellers like salespeople, especially as personal vacation time is also deducted from the 90-day allowance,” he said.

“They are starting to find they are exceeding their limits.”

Robin Balme, a specialist automation electrical contractor, based in the UK, has been affected by this.

He spent three months last year working in France, before taking up another job in Finland, where he is now.

Robin has already reached the 90-day limit once, and is about to do so again.

He said: “I booked a holiday to Sicily, which was a mistake – I should have gone to Wales.

“I can’t go on summer holiday to Europe anymore.

“From June 9 I will have to wait six weeks before I can return to the EU for another two weeks.

“There is more work available for me after the summer holidays, but I don’t know if it’s worth going through with because of the red tape.”

The electrical contractor continued: “It’s currently affecting my ability to work.

“A large majority of the work I do is in the EU.

“I also know many people who work in the music industry and they have lost all their European tours.

“Why use someone from Britain if you can use a European?”

Robin now uses a special Brexit calculator that allows him to plan when he can and can’t work in the EU, and how long he has to wait before returning.

According to Tobias, there are many like Robin who have been affected by the 90-day rules, especially those working in construction, engineering, and energy.

He said: “Our clients are seeing the issues coming up and are looking for solutions like work permits for countries their travellers visit frequently.

“That has other implications, like taxation liabilities, and you need an address in the country where you can receive the permit and an entity in the country to be the local sponsor.

“Many of our clients are saying they will be more careful.

“We have German clients who are saying they won’t tender for projects in the UK anymore, and others saying they will not send Brits to the EU but will use people from elsewhere in Europe.”

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