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Business after Brexit

The Brexit transition period is over and many new regulations came into effect on the 1st of January 2021. As organisations work through the changes, we thought we would provide the reminder below about the measures which we at Western Union Business Solutions have taken to help us maintain our services with little disruption. This article also provides further information from the UK government.

How We Maintained Our Services

Western Union Business Solutions is a business unit of the Western Union Company and provides services in the UK as a brand of Western Union’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Western Union International Bank GmbH, (WUIB). WUIB is a branch of Western Union International Bank GmbH, which is registered in Austria and regulated by the Austrian Financial Market Authority. Ahead of Brexit, we submitted a Third Country Branch application to the Austrian Financial Market Authority, the UK Prudential Regulation Authority and the UK Financial Conduct Authority in relation to our UK branch (WUIB UK). WUIB UK has been deemed a Third Country Branch under the Temporary Permissions Regime as of 31 December 2020. The PRA will have three years from this date to officially approve our application.

We do not anticipate any noticeable differences in the way we service our customers, and our account management and operational support teams have not changed. However, there have been some small changes to documentation and administrative processes which our customers were advised about ahead of time. We made some minor updates to our Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) to reflect the updates in English Law that came into effect as a result of Brexit due to the changed circumstances of the UK and EEA, and these T&C's came into effect on the 1st of January 2021. They can be found here.

Other government guidance that may be of interest to our customers.

Beyond Western Union’s services, if you are keen to understand more about those new rules, please see the summary below, which has been provided to us by the UK government. The article looks in more depth at making and receiving payments from the EU, and at pensions and social security coordination for those living or working in Europe.

Payments

You can continue to make payments and cash withdrawals in the EEA now that the transition period has ended. However, these may be more expensive and could take longer. Firms should let you know about any changes in charges that affect products you have.

Payment service providers (PSPs) such as Western Union Business Solutions or your bank, must also provide additional information when making certain payments between the UK and the EEA to minimise the risk of disruption to those payments. This includes the name of the payer and payee, and address of the payer. In case of any missing information your payments provider should contact you to obtain the required information or discussion alternatives.

Living abroad and pensions

UK state pension

If you are moving or retiring abroad, you’ll need to inform the government office that deals with your benefits or your UK State Pension.

You can carry on receiving your UK State Pension if you move to live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, and you can still claim your UK State Pension from these countries.

Your UK State Pension will be increased each year in the EU in line with the rate paid in the UK, and you can also count relevant social security contributions made in EU countries to meet the qualifying conditions for a UK State Pension.

These rules on the State Pension apply to everyone regardless of your nationality and regardless of when you moved.

Existing annuities and private pensions

UK-based financial services companies should continue to be able to make payments for existing annuities and private pensions held by UK citizens resident in the EU. In most cases, pension providers can pay your income to an overseas bank of your choice. If that is not possible, they may be able to send payment by cheque to the policy holder’s home address in their country of residence.

UK citizens resident in the EU who hold policies with UK financial services companies may not be able to make certain changes to these policies following the end of the Transition Period.

Policy holders concerned about the status of their private pension policies should contact their policy provider for clarification and guidance.

Employing personnel

Employers can learn more about the new points-based immigration system or when a visa is needed for business travel, for example, while people travelling to or living in the EU can receive information on topics such as renewing passports and healthcare.

Living abroad and social security coordination

The new rules on social security coordination continue to ensure workers who move between the UK and the EU only have to pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time, and this will usually be in the country where the work takes place.

If you are sending an employee to work temporarily in the EU, you or your employee can apply for a certificate or document from HMRC, so that for up to 24 months, you can continue to only pay National Insurance contributions in the UK. Please see the page on going to work temporarily in the EU for more information.

If you are bringing an EU-based employee to work in the UK temporarily, they can also apply for a certificate from the EU Member State in which they are based. This will ensure you and your employee will only pay social security contributions in their home country for up to 24 months. Please see the gov.uk page on coming to work in the UK for more information.

For more information, please use the Brexit Checker Tool on this page to receive a personalised list of the actions you need to take.

Carrying cash and personal allowances

You need to make a declaration if you are carrying £10,000 or more in cash into or out of Great Britain from any country, including the EU. You do not need to make a declaration when you are taking cash from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

You also need to be aware of new personal allowance rules when travelling between Great Britain and the EU. Passengers travelling from Great Britain to EU countries are now also able to buy duty-free alcohol and tobacco products, where available, in British ports, airports, and international train stations, and aboard ships, trains and planes. For further information and to make any necessary declarations, please visit this page.

For more Post-Brexit guidance from the government, please visit gov.uk.