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Visit Scotland | Alba

New rules for businesses began on 1 January 2021 following the end of the transition period. If you operate a business in Scotland you must ensure your business and supply chain has adapted to the new business environment.

There’s a lot of information available to help your business and your non-UK European employees. This page contains information on:

Business support

Scotland's enterprise and skills agencies are focussed on helping businesses operate after Brexit and maximise growth opportunities in international markets. The latest guidance, support and advice to help your business operate after Brexit is available on the Find Business Support website. It includes:

  • Frequently asked questions – search by topic to find solutions to common issues
  • Understanding VAT after Brexit – understand how the new rules surrounding VAT affect your business, with country-specific information and situational examples
  • Everything you need to know about Rules of Origin – how this impacts your business and follow a five-step process to make sure you're following the new regulations
  • Transport and logistics – how to ensure your goods get to market and you get the imports your business needs to operate
  • Key dates to note in 2021 – since a trade deal has been agreed between the UK and the EU, you must ensure you're up to date with changing rules and regulations surrounding your business operations
  • Get answers to your Brexit questions – links to Brexit helplines to find information and advice on trade, sector or market issues
  • Email updates – sign up to receive the latest email updates on operating after Brexit and COVID-19 guidance and support for businesses in Scotland

UKinbound has produced a list of useful resources specifically for the UK tourism industry. This includes UK Government guidance on visiting the UK, working in the tourism sector from 1 January 2021, new data protection requirements that have resulted from the UK leaving the EU, the immigration system and transport related guidance.

The key things for tourism businesses to consider

Now that the transition period has ended, freedom of movement has ended for UK citizens. This may have had an impact on your business. The UK Government has added guidance to help you meet these new rules. The key things you must have considered and implemented from 1 January 2021:

  1. Changes relating to travel to the EU for leisure or business, hiring staff from the EU and data protection and data flows with the EU / European Economic Area (EEA).
  2. Visiting the UK. You can access practical, consumer focused communications about visiting the UK after January 2021 on the UK Government website.
  3. Travelling to the EU. Advice for UK nationals travelling to the EU can be found on the UK Government website.

Support for non-UK EU citizens

Non-UK EU citizens and their families who are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 will have to apply to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 in order to continue living, working and studying in the UK after that date.

To help guide you through the steps you need to take to stay, you can access the Stay in Scotland package of support.

A support and advice service is also available for all citizens living in Scotland affected by the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme who may need additional information and support. For more information please call the Citizens Advice Scotland freephone national helpline on 0800 916 9847 or visit

The Scottish Government has produced a toolkit with a range of material for employers and EU citizens. It includes information on the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme, details of the application process and requirements and links to other resources. 

The contribution of non-UK EU workers to Scotland’s tourism industry should be celebrated and reassurances should be given to them about their employment status.

The Scottish tourism sector employ 21,000 EU nationals, accounting for 11.6% of employment in the sector.

The First Minister has written an open letter to EU citizens living in Scotland asking them to stay in Scotland after Brexit. 

Our visitors

Europe provides six out of Scotland’s 10 key markets. In 2018 Europe was the largest international market area for Scotland, with 2.2 million visitors, which equates to 64% of all international visits that year. These visitors generated £1.1 billion of expenditure.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on international travel but the warmth of the welcome is more critical than ever – something our country is so renowned for and will be at the heart of the recovery of Scottish tourism.

Our European visitors are incredibly important to us, so it’s important we help them stay as informed as possible before they visit Scotland.

Our advice to visitors now that the UK has left the EU is available at

Read more on what you need to know about crossing the UK border and visiting the UK from 1 January 2021 on the UK Government website.

What is VisitScotland doing?

Through the Business Resilience Steering Group which looks at the twin challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit, we worked with key Scottish public sector partners to share insight and advice on how businesses and stakeholders could prepare for the end of the transition period.

This includes the continued sharing of the Prepare for Brexit toolkit with businesses we work with, The Scottish Tourism Alliance and UK Hospitality.

We are also involved in a Scottish Government led communications group and have shared lines and insight as part of plans for providing public information. 

Europe, let’s continue our love affair

We remain committed to being a country for Europeans to come live, work, study, visit and do business with.

Our Scotland is Open campaign had a simple, powerful message: “Europe, let’s continue our love affair”. It reinforced Scotland’s reputation as a world-class place for people to live, work, visit, study and do business, specifically targeted at key European markets.

Supporting our non-UK EU staff

Our staff base comprises 12% non-UK EU nationals, working in a number of locations and variety of jobs – we are proud of the contribution they make to our organisation.

We are committed to fully engaging with and supporting our non-UK EU staff who will be affected by Brexit. The implications of Brexit also mean that we need to consider what actions we must take as a business to continue to attract and retain talent regardless of nationality – the fact is that the EU provides us with a valuable pool of talent and we need to do what we can to continue that trend.

We encourage all businesses to work with and support their non-UK EU staff in order to retain dedicated and skilled workers.

Contact us

If you have any issues regarding Brexit you would like to discuss with us please email [email protected].

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