Our Brush Up On Brexit session earlier this week provided important advice on immigration – bringing anyone to the UK for a shoot, whether a director, DoP, other crew member, actor, agency or client.
Our immigration into the UK advisor Janice Leggett from Birketts Solicitors, provided a session about bringing people to the UK from Europe to work as employees of your company – of particular interest to our VFX members (see too the final two paragraphs of this email).
This session related to production and the need for you to bring in people to work on a shoot in the UK, who are neither employees nor here for the long term i.e. they remain resident elsewhere.
There is only one route to bring people you engage into the UK to work – whether they be director, DoP or whoever – to have a Sponsors License as a company.
This is the same system that has been in place since 2013 when bringing in anyone to work from around the world who wasn’t an EU national, but that will change from 1st Jan 2021 to include also citizens of EU states.
There is no other system for bringing people into the UK to work legally (no separate visa system) so; if you have a Sponsors License you can bring someone to the UK to work on a production from another country – and if you haven’t, you can’t.
You apply for a Sponsors License online HERE – the cost of which for fours years is £536.
The process takes approximately eight weeks, so if you do not yet have a Sponsors License you need to apply now to have it available as soon as possible in the new year.
Apply for as many Sponsors Licenses as you think you may need during the next year and be aware that you will need to explain why you need that amount. We think for a small company applying for 10-20 or for a larger company 20-40 is the ball park for what you can realistically apply for and get.
You then issue the Certificate of Sponsorship yourself online – a certificate number is generated that you give to the person coming into the UK. Each certificate costs £21 but you only incur that cost when you actually use a certificate (not for having them allocated initially).
You can apply for further certificates if you find during the year that you need more. That process is said to be slow, so apply for more well in advance of them running out.
What is the position in respect of people from the EU living here now, either employed by you or engaged by you from time-to-time on a freelance basis?
If they are here now, or arrive before 31st Dec then they are entitled to settled status, enabling them to stay here for five years and work (and that could convert into a permanent right to reside here) and that application must be made by them before 30th June 2021.
So please encourage any EU people you engage to do that to protect their right to work.
Further information on the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status) can be found HERE.
INSURANCE & TAX
Graham Tyler from Moore Kingston Smith & Mark Good at Tysers updated us on changes that will take place and offered watch outs – the overarching thing being timings and forward planning.
In terms of tax and regulation on providing working with EU countries, not much is changing and you will notice little difference in doing business with EU countries.
There are points worth nothing though:
There will be changes around movement of goods. To move goods between the UK and the EU companies will require an EORI number and follow the new carnet system.
No major changes to VAT have been announced. If you work with an EU client or agency now you don’t charge VAT and that will be the same after 31st December. The requirement to file EC sales lists ends at 31st December.
Similarly with insurance, your cover will continue to operate in the same way it has previously but there are significant points you should be aware of post 31st December 2020:
For most people, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will not be valid from 1st January, 2021, therefore you should always take out travel insurance with medical expenses cover included for an overseas trip. You will be unlikely to have access to free emergency medical treatment.
If you intend to take any UK registered vehicle(s) abroad to EEA countries after 31st December, e.g a Russian Arm or specialist camera equipment truck, then you will need to carefully plan well ahead. It is highly likely that you will have to obtain a Green Card – an (EEA) certification of insurance which provides motorists with evidence of the minimum level of compulsory motor insurance required by the laws of the EEA country in which travel you’re travelling. A physical copy of a Green Card will be necessary when travelling in Europe, as digital copies are not currently accepted. Green Cards need to be applied for at least a month before travel, so it is important to ensure that any applications are made promptly. This could impact on how you plan productions and where you source specialist vehicles from.
There may be increased volatility between the £STG and Euro exchange rate, and this risk should be managed by forward buying currency and agreeing that rate within the PIBS. To minimise potential risks, Tysers have spoken with their underwriters to obtain agreement to settle claims based on the contracted exchange rate agreed within the PIBS (rather than the exchange rate ruling at the date of loss, which is the usual insurance norm).
More detailed info HERE.