Cross-border services provided by Brits post-Brexit

Hi all,

I saw an analysis on The Local . Fr of the current withdrawal agreement. One of the inconveniences listed was this:

The right to provide cross-border services as self-employed people will end.

Find it here:

Does this mean having international clients will be an issue?


If you work remotely I don’t see an issue. If you are eg a French registered plumber / surveyor / landscaper or whatever, you won’t be able to nip over to provide your services in the UK as you can now. Or vice versa, Brit builders won’t be able to come and do jobs in France.

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Right, so more destined to regulated trades working on site rather than other liberal services doing remote working.

I.m a translator living and working in France. I can work online for clients in the USA, Egypt etc. The only difference would be the VAT but in fact I don’t charge VAT in any case.
However I am aware that if a client from outside the EU decided not to pay me, it would be a lot harder to make them. There’s a free simplified procedure for recovering debts within the EU but I guess this won’t apply to the UK after Brexit. So I do more due diligence on brand new non EU clients and I wouldn’t do a big job for them unless I was very sure.

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The issue really will be with regulated service provision in the UK, if your business is resident in the EU, which may, or may not be subject to constraints.

Like Anna, I have clients pretty much all over the world, admittedly, most of these are law firms rather than directly the rights holder, but they are still non-EU businesses and I still take/give instruction from/to them and represent them here in Europe/France, and bill them accordingly. That has never been an issue.

So, for example, in my field of law, I will no longer be able to act in the for UK clients before the local intellectual property authorities, as I’m not licensed to practice in the UK. Currently, in the EU system, I can do this “occasionally” and could even have had my French qualifications recognised at the UK level should I so have chosen.

On the opposite side of the coin, take EU trademark representation for example. UK nationals will be excluded from representing any clients (irrespective of the client’s origin) before the EU community trademark office, unless they can show a mainland EU country national license to practice, or obtain an exemption, and also have a habitual place of business in one of the other 27 EU countries.

Post edit : I forgot to add that as a UK national, even if resident in one of the other 27 EU, I may be barred from carrying out certain reserved service activities in each particular state, depending on any recently drafted/implemented national law that deals with the rights of UK citizens after Brexit.

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Another issue of which to be aware is GDPR - if you are handling or transferring data of UK based clients to/from the other EU27, then you will need to conform to any local UK regulations that get passed/changed/adapted as things move ahead with Brexit. There are currently no “safe harbour” provisions or “data shield” (or whatever it is called) between the UK and the EU - these regulations will have to be established by the UK government, and may have an impact on data entry, retention and transfer with the EU.

As you say Alex, any regulated business is going to have to keep a close eye on what is eventually agreed. So many implications for so many people, and I suspect Johnson understand very little and cares even less.

I hadn’t even considered GDPR when thinking about my client information, apart from personal information that is. Anyone know any online resources to guide the self-employed?

Well don’t look on the French gouv website, absolutely useless IMO for any detail. To be honest, I didn’t find the UK gov websites “prepare for Brexit” any better, singularly lacking in any useful detail.

Not sure whether these will be of any practical use