Skip to main content

Keeping up to date with the plethora of ongoing changes, and impacts resulting from Brexit and Covid-19 is not an easy task! K2 have been running informative webinars to help guide global mobility professionals through this time, albeit virtually.

Session summary

For this session, updates were provided by the following K2 subject matter experts:

  • Miranda Barras-Smith, Client Account Director 
  • Rob Lamb, European Commercial Coordinator and K2 Brexit Preparedness Lead
  • Jose Pose, Group Commercial Manager 
  • Susanna Wang, Regional Immigration Manager 
  • Simon Higson, UK Immigration Manager

The session was facilitated by Huw Thomas, UK Business Development Manager, who welcomed the attendees, provided an introduction and fielded questions at the end.

International travel restrictions 

Miranda Barras-Smith began the session by providing an informative top-line overview of the impacts that are being experienced across the world, and how K2 are addressing these issues globally. Miranda spoke through some of the trends that we are seeing in different regions, for example, the need to provide proof of a negative covid-19 test either upon travel, or arrival, has become a rule of thumb throughout Europe, also highlighting the stricter regulations that are being experienced throughout Asia Pacific. Miranda highlighted that we are still able to move belongings and household goods, however hauliers are having to be mindful of curfews that are in place- for example moves in France are taking longer; sometimes two days instead of one, to abide by current curfews. 

Miranda then gave some more detail around current UK travel restrictions- noting that travel is being taken very seriously by the UK government, with negative covid-19 tests being mandatory on arrival (even for those who have had the vaccine, or those who are UK residents), and there are various scenarios which will then follow, regarding quarantine requirements. Miranda also gave an overview of the UK ‘Red List’ of countries, from which a person will be denied entry to the UK. 

Miranda concluded by highlighting the benefit of still initiating K2 at this time, despite the uncertainty of the months ahead. The sooner K2 are involved in the moves you wish to do, the better we can support you and work with you, whether that be right now, or when things start to open up. 


Rob Lamb then gave an overview of what we have been experiencing in the world of shipping, post Brexit and amidst covid-19. Rob explained that now that we have left the EU, it has been confirmed that all shipments will need customs clearance coming into Europe from the UK. K2 have confirmed what is needed with vendors, and we are seeing more and more vendors happy to travel to Europe. Rob noted that K2 are currently allowing an additional day for customs clearance in France. Some vendors have reported wait times of 2-3 hours, which has reduced from 6 hours at the start of this year. Rob highlighted that it is crucial to get documents ready in advance, and K2 are currently working with a 7-10 days lead time. Rob explained that all drivers still need to present a negative covid-19 test 72 hours before departure, and highlighted that ports globally are still busy- but Rob is hoping this will calm down over the next few months. 

Rob also explained that K2 have amended working practices in order to keep crew and clients safe. For example, K2 have been performing virtual surveys, all crew members are using full PPE, trucks are cleaned daily, and the number of people on site is always minimal.

Destination services 

The session then heard from Jose Pose, who gave an overview on destination services and how they have been affected by Brexit and Covid-19. 

In terms of Brexit, impacts have not been as significant as expected. Jose noted that EHIC cards in Europe are all still valid until the date of expiry, but only for visitors, not for relocating/ permanent residents, so this is something to be aware of. Residents will need to register for local healthcare, and it would be wise to check travel insurance to ensure that those relocating are covered on arrival as registering for local healthcare can take time. Jose also illustrated how local registrations vary from country to country in Europe, and reassured attendees that K2 can support with this process as part of the settling in program. In terms of spousal visas, Jose warned that there is still a 12-14 week delay. 

When looking at the impacts of Covid-19, Jose highlighted how the recent update from the British Prime minister, which provided a roadmap out of the current lockdown. Jose noted the key dates int his roadmap, and commented on when we can expect travel to resume and borders to open (Stage 3). In terms of travel, Jose noted that this roadmap poses no major impacts in the short term, with free travel not possible until May 17th. Jose also highlighted some other impacts to destination services, for example on housing (limited properties, offers need to be given quickly, don’t expect rent reductions). 

In terms of APAC and LATAM, Jose also provided some top-line trends. For example, schools are typically open in APAC (with exceptions of Hong Kong, Malaysia and Myannmar), however school tours are still being held virtually. APAC is behind the European vaccine rollout, with exceptions for Singapore that is 5% and China 20% of the population vaccinated. For LATAM, relocation services are going ahead with appropriate PPE, and virtual assistance where possible. 

Jose noted that K2 are keeping abreast of the ongoing changes and updates and will be liaising with clients and partners to ensure everyone is up to date and aware of the developing situation.

Global immigration 

The session then heard from Susanna Wang, who gave an update on the overall entry restrictions globally, delays in processing times and UK nationals in Europe post-Brexit. It’s important to remember that information on entry restrictions is fluid, and always changing, and therefore important to always check the recent changes and restrictions. Generally, most countries are asking for proof of a negative covid-19 test upon arrival, and enforcing a mandatory quarantine is also a frequent measure. Many countries are completely closed to visitors, and will only allow entry to exceptions (such as residents returning home, citizens, family members, or special circumstances). Some countries also have additional restrictions for travellers coming from the UK, South Africa, or Brazil. Susanna presented an overview of many countries current entry requirements and restrictions, and exceptions, throughout the globe. 

Susanna also introduced an App by the European Union, called ‘Re-Open EU’ which is a useful tool to keep track of EU travel restrictions. 

Susanna also noted the delays in processing times that are being experienced throughout the globe, noting that prior appointments with embassies, consulates, town halls are needed for assistance in many cases. 

The immigration process for UK nationals already living in a European country prior to December 31, 2020 is already in place in many European countries. As of 2021, UK nationals do not need a visa to visit a European country- however, if the individual is visiting for work purposes, the regulations will need to be checked, as sometimes a work permit will be required.

UK immigration 

Simon Higson concluded the session by discussing the latest updates regarding UK Immigration, amidst Covid-19 and Brexit. To start, Simon reminded everyone that we are only 4 months away from the end of the final transitional period, for Brexit. Which means that EU nationals who are living and working in the UK, who have been in the UK since before December 31, 2020, have 4 months left to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). They need to do this before June 30th 2021. If they do not do this, they will not be qualified to live and work in the UK.

The New Points Based System has been in place for a few months and seems to be working well. Simon confirmed that approvals typically are issued in a few days. Simon also gave some updates regarding Home Office guidance for recruitment practices, expiring visas, transfers for next year and additional certificates. 

For more information on Brexit and how K2 can assist you, please visit our Brexit page.   

With regards to Covid-19, we have seen throughout the pandemic a number of immigration rules relaxed, however amidst recent developments we have seen many of these relaxations removed. Simon ran through a few of the significant changes to be aware of, with regards to sponsored employees, premium processing routes, biometric appointments and applications, minimum salaries, temporary visas, visa applications and more. 

Simon concluded by noting that concessions and regulations are changing all the time, so K2 are continuously checking in with the Home Office and keeping abreast of the seemingly moving targets, and are advising clients on moves on a case by case basis. 

Watch a recording of this webinar

The session concluded with a live Q&A. To view a summary of the questions, please see below.


If a country is on the Red List, does that mean that people will be refused entry full stop, i.e. even if they can demonstrate a negative test they won’t be allowed to enter so shouldn’t travel?

That is correct. The Red Listed countries are under a full travel ban. You should not be travelling unless a British, Irish or third party national, until we hear otherwise. The HMRC website has the full information. 

How do I check if an EU national has been granted Settled or pre Settled status?

Once an application has been made, an individual will receive confirmation. When you are doing the Right to Work check, you ask them for the code, and then use this code online to check this code, and you will later receive an email, which will suffice as the right to work check. 

Can expats access COVID vaccines when not in their home country?

From an immigration into the UK point of view, if you are a skilled worker, or Tier 2 ICT category holder it is very likely that you will have paid a immigration health surcharge as part of your entry clearance application. EU Nationals in the UK are automatically entitled to free healthcare as part of their registration under the EUSS. 
New people coming into the UK will need to register with their GP as soon as possible so that they can be made aware of the vaccine. 

Normally there will be a gap in health care insurance when moving from one EU country to another. How can an employee sign up for a private insurance when not belonging to any of the countries i.e. during the “gap” period? Any recommendations/ideas?

In terms of healthcare, depending on the country that the employee is moving to, there will be private healthcare is available. K2 are able to provide more information on this on a case by case basis. 

If an employee has pre-settled status and leaves the UK 4 months prior to qualifying for settled status can they still apply of settlement if not in the UK?

You can be out of the UK for up to 180 days, in any one year qualifying period, for the five years before you are able to apply for settled status. So if you’ve been in the UK for 4 years, and 8 months, you would not be able to apply for settled status, until you’d had pre-settled status for 5 years. 

However, you should be able to apply even if you had left the UK 2 months previously, because you would meet the ‘not leaving the UK’ for 180 days across the 5 years. 

What are we expecting the customs clearance costs to be for shipments coming in and out of the UK?

We are looking at approximately 250-300 Euros. These are the costs we are getting from our vendors at the moment. 

Are there any restrictions on property searches in the UK, and how are you managing this as a result of Covid-19?

No restrictions! We are able to conduct property viewings, with appropriate PPE and social distancing. We are trying to limit contact, by limiting the areas of the search, so that shared transport is avoided. 

Do we still need to advertise in two places for 28 days before we can request a certificate of sponsorship?

Under the current rules, if you can evidence advertising, you don’t have to advertise in two publications. K2 would suggest you keep the role open for 28 days, and detail the job title, job description, place of work, salary, or salary range. Keep this on file and this should be sufficient for audit purposes. 

We are here to help in any way we can

Should you need any additional information, consultation, or guidance on any of the above, please do contact us as we would be delighted to assist you. 

Additionally, if you would like to have a virtual coffee with any of our experts, please contact us we would be happy to arrange this. 

Leave a Reply