bto solicitors - Corporate & Commercial Business Lawyers Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland

  • "really fights your corner..."
    "really fights your corner..." Chambers UK
  • "Consistently high-quality work and client-friendly approach."
    "Consistently high-quality work and client-friendly approach." Chambers UK

Professional Services in the EU under the New Trade Agreement

11 January 2021

On 1 January 2021, the UK entered a “brand new partnership” with the European Union. Irrespective of your opinion of Brexit, it was inevitably going to change how business was done in Europe. This blog examines the short-term entry requirements and the transferability of professional qualifications now that UK professionals no longer have the ability to automatically work in the EU.

Entry Requirements and Short-Term Business Visitors

Subject to certain conditions and qualifications under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (“the Agreement”), Member States will continue to allow the entry and temporary stay of short-term business visitors (“SBVs”) from the UK. Annexes in the Agreement list a limited number of permitted “visa-free activities” for SBVs. These include, attending meetings, conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions. However, some Member States have imposed additional restrictions on UK business visitors. For example, Croatia, Cyprus and Denmark all require a “work permit, including economic needs test in case [SBVs] supply a service”.

    Jeremy Glen

 Jeremy Glen

    Ibinabo David-West

 Ibinabo David-West
Trainee Solicitor

You may also need a visa or other documentation if you plan on carrying out certain activities, these include:

  • ‘staying for longer than 90 days in a 180-day period;
  • providing services in another country as a self-employed person;
  • transferring from the UK branch of a company to a branch in a different country (‘intra-corporate transfer’), even for a short period of time; or
  • carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in another country that your employer is not established in’.

Recognition of Professional Qualifications

The Agreement provides for the adoption and development of measures that require UK professionals to obtain national recognition of their qualifications in each EU Member State where they want to work. The mechanisms used for the recognition of professional qualifications may differ within the same country depending on the circumstances. Where there is a “substantial divergence in the scope of practice and the professional qualifications required to practise”, a choice of compensatory measures may be given to applicants to remedy such divergence. Examples of a compensatory measure might include a temporary limitation of the scope of practice or a period of supervised practice in the host country.

In summary, if you are a UK business or professional providing services in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, it is essential that you check and follow the national regulations of the country you are doing business in. The new rules do not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach, so it may even be highly advisable to seek further guidance from the relevant bodies such as non-governmental organisations of that country.


Jeremy Glen, Partner / 0141 221 8012

Ibinabo David-West, Trainee Solicitor / 0141 221 8012


“The level of service has always been excellent, with properly experienced solicitors dealing with appropriate cases" Legal 500

Contact BTO


  • 48 St. Vincent Street
  • Glasgow
  • G2 5HS
  • T:+44 (0)141 221 8012
  • F:+44 (0)141 221 7803


  • One Edinburgh Quay
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9QG
  • T:+44 (0)131 222 2939
  • F:+44 (0)131 222 2949