Make UK members have made it clear that they send their workers to the EU for business, and wish to continue offering services to EU Member States. The provision of services are a significant part of the manufacturing sector and the UK economy as a whole. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that Europe is the largest export market for UK trade in services and accounts for 51% of the UK’s exported services. This is estimated to be worth around £95 billion pounds. The recent Make UK International Trade Report published 6th October 2020 in association with HSBC UK found that 35% of manufacturers who export also provide a service as part of the sale of a good to customers overseas.
It is of interest to look at which countries are the most popular destinations that companies travel to for business. France, Germany and the Netherlands account for nearly two thirds of all business trips, underlying just how important these three EU Countries are to the UK manufacturing sector.
When we look at the qualifications of the workers that manufacturers are sending to the EU, the most popular are workers with technical skills, below degree level - suggesting that servicing, installing and maintaining high-quality UK engineering equipment is a vital part of the manufacturing sector's service offering to EU customers.
So, taking both business visitors and technicians together we can see just how important the temporary movement of UK workers into the EU is, and how any new barriers to business travel will hamper the UK manufacturing sector in the future. Manufacturers want to know what the rules will be for 2021 and how their workers will be able to travel throughout Europe. To help manufacturers navigate the changes that affect business travel to the EU now and when the transition period ends January 2021, we have also published, What is an A1 form?, and Business Visitors Vs Posted Workers, in partnership with Ceridian. Support from Make UK mobility experts can help manufacturers to navigate the web of rules that govern the temporary movement of UK workers around the EU, but it is also important for businesses to start taking action now.
Preparation is key for manufacturers to deal with the changes that lie ahead at the end of the EU transition period. The best starting point for UK manufacturers is to understand their workforce data – stay up to date about who you send to the EU, for how long, which countries they're travelling to and what they will do when they get there. Understanding the rules and processes, such as work permits, that apply to your workers when they travel to the EU for work will help you to be better prepared. Get in touch if you need to know more.