Will Brexit Affect Learning Business English in Vienna?

 In Brexit, Business English

Will Brexit Affect Learning Business English in Vienna? 

Austria is a lucrative market for English businesses. With a strong economy, social stability, a multitude of English-speaking business environments and consumers with reasonable purchasing power, it makes sense for UK businesses to take root in Vienna.

Brexit could complicate business relationships between the UK and Austria. It will also affect Austrian nationals hoping to travel, live, work or study in Britain.

To use an expression that you may hear in an English business environment, Brexit has “thrown a spanner in the works”.

There is no doubt that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will affect businesses on both sides of the channel. However, despite the political uncertainty that shrouded Brexit for almost half a decade, it seems there are still opportunities for firms in Vienna to work with English businesses.

To continue cross-channel trading, keeping good relationships with suppliers will be key. It is important to provide transparency in trading practices and to have a good understanding of business English so you know how the trading arrangements affect your prospects and finances.

In this article, we will discuss how new trade agreements will impact small businesses in the UK and in Austria, and discuss whether there is any merit for residents living in Vienna to learn business English.


Post-Brexit Trade Agreement with English Businesses

Contrary to popular belief, the post-Brexit UK-EU trade agreement does not impose an increase in taxes, customs duties or VAT on goods moving between Britain and the EU. At least, not for the time being.

But don’t get too excited!

Some goods will be subject to customs duties including animal products and goods that fall under Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Controls. Courier fees are also expected to go up to cover their costs for visas and licenses.

The most significant impact in the new legislation centres around paperwork. New documents and permits are required. These “disbursement charges” are where the cost hikes lie for businesses.

Additional documentation will also require a working knowledge of business English. At the very least, understanding business English will be advantageous post-Brexit.

The rise in import-export costs may prompt English businesses to relocate to Vienna. This could present opportunities for Austrians with a good standard of business English to play an important role within a company or act as a go-between for importers and exporters.


Import and Export of Goods Between EU and UK

In all honesty, moving goods between the EU and the UK could have been far worse than in reality. The only real change is new formalities at the customs points.

Importers and exporters are obligated to submit an EORI ((Economic Operators Registration and Identification) at UK-EU borders.

The EORI features a unique ID number which serves as a registration and tracking code to import and export goods between the EU and the UK. An EORI code is not required if you provide services, however.

By all accounts, filling in the EORI is quite complicated. Thousands of deliveries have been delayed or returned because the form was not filled out correctly.

Moreover, the customer declaration is electronic and must be submitted to the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. It is the obligation of businesses to do this yourself so you will need to invest in compatible software in order to access the system.

Alternatively, you can instruct a customs agent or broker, freight forwarder or courier to complete and submit the relevant documents on your behalf. Either way, an additional expense is imposed on businesses.


VAT After Brexit

The rates of VAT on goods between the EU and the UK has not changed – but once again, regulations have been tweaked.

On this occasion, the amendments could work in the favour of small businesses that know how to manage accounts creatively and have several income flows.

The Trade Agreement includes a new initiative called “postponed VAT”. This means importers do not have to pay VAT on goods received from the UK at the port of entry. VAT payments can be deferred for six months.VAT remains at the standard 20% rate for goods and services that exceed £135 (€156), but by taking advantage of the postponed VAT system, small businesses can free up cashflow when importing.


How Does Brexit Affect Transportation?

Transportation regulations for UK-based haulage companies are subject to change. There may be some divergence in UK laws in which a working knowledge of legal English will be advantageous.

European companies also need to familiarise themselves with new trading conditions. The transportation of goods between the EU and the UK will require preparations in advance including customs declarations and new regulations on food and livestock.

In the short-term, logistics companies have been affected by lengthy delays at borders. Two-thirds of companies have reported delays of two to three days. Some companies have even had goods returned.

There are concerns over the long-term effects Brexit will have on imports and exports. It is expected that fewer permits will be available for UK operators to enter the EU market due to fears that additional custom checks will create long queues and long waits.

Given the UK is the 8th most important trade partner with Austria, there is a real concern that fewer permits will impact Austrian businesses. Deloitte notably identifies the automotive industry will be the hardest hit.


Will Brexit Harm Small Businesses?

Small businesses have been the hardest hit since the transition period ended on 31st December 2020. Many were unprepared for new custom clearance regulations and delays in delivery have made it more difficult for small businesses to fulfil customer orders.

A report published by the Institute of Export & International Trade suggests the majority of SME’s in the UK do not expect trade in the EU to subside. As a matter of fact, 23% expect trade to increase. You have to admire their optimism!

In Europe meanwhile, there is an argument for Austrian companies to cease trading with the UK for the time being and look for business in other EU countries or further afield in emerging economies.

Companies based in Vienna that have employees who can speak business English to a good standard certainly have opportunities to grow your business outside Austria.

UK visa applications and licenses could pose a problem for import and export and come with additional costs. Consumer spending in the UK will also impact sales.

Even before the pandemic, Brexit prompted a 1% rise in unemployment rates. Coronavirus has expedited unemployment rates. The Office of National Statistics says five per cent of the country is unemployed.

With consumer spending on the rise in emerging economies such as Africa and Asia, business-minded people with excellent English language skills may find better opportunities in global markets.


How Has Brexit Affected Native English Speakers in Living in Vienna?

The impact of Brexit not only affect businesses, but travellers and professionals living and working in EU countries as well.

UK freelancers, employees and academics living and working in Austria have until the 31st December 2021 to apply for a residency visa.

British nationals living, working and studying in Vienna that are affected by Brexit must apply for a residence permit „Article 50 EUV” in order to stay in the country.

As a native English teacher and living in Vienna for 20 years, I was able to apply for a residence permit with relative ease. I was able to trade my existing residency permit in for the new Article 50 EUV.

It should be noted the proposed changes for British citizen’s living in Austria is a temporary law at the time of writing. The procedure for obtaining Article 50 EUV is draft legislation and could be subject to change.

The EUV card is a new type of visa that is only awarded to UK nationals living in Austria and subsequently affected by Brexit. The card is valid for five years.

UK citizens that have a permanent residence in Austria, however, can extend the card for a further five years, which is then valid for a maximum of 10 years. The deadline for applications is 31 December 2021.

For native English speakers in Vienna, the application for a residency permit is fairly simple – at least as simple as you can expect from a bureaucratic process. You basically have to prove what you are doing in Austria.

For example, if you work for a company as an employee, you will need evidence from your employer. Students must provide an enrolment certificate for the course they are studying and expats with an existing residency permit only need to exchange the old visa for a new visa.

The procedure for Austrians living, or hoping to live, work and study in the UK may not have such a smooth experience.


How Does Brexit Affect Austrians Travelling to Britain? 

The good news is that members of EU states will not need to apply for a visa to visit the UK – providing you don’t stay longer than six months.

However, there will be a new system introduced for EU travellers visiting Britain. For a short-term visit, you only need to submit an Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme (ETAS).

An ETAS covers you to participate in a range of activities including short-term studies such as an English language course, business meetings or interactions and to attend events or conferences.

The new process will be effective from 1 January 2022 and will be mandatory for all EU travellers by the end of 2022.

This process is a standard procedure to ensure short-term visitors have permission to travel and enter the UK, and to ensure you are not a security risk. The form must be completed in advance of travel.

Under the terms of the ETAS, the UK will be entitled to run security checks to determine whether they have the freedom of movement with the Schengen Zone – the 26 European countries that have officially abolished all types of passport control at mutual borders.

The maximum period Austrians can live and study in the UK is six months. However, the initial entry only covers you for 90 days. You will need to reapply for a visa extension to stay another 90 days.

You can find out if you need to apply for a visa on the UK.gov website.


Can Austrians Work in the UK Post-Brexit?

Austrians with ambitions to work in the UK will need to apply for a residency visa and working visa which includes proving they have the correct qualifications.

The standard visas for living, working and studying in the UK qualifies you for two and a half years in the country. If you need to apply for a long-term stay beyond two and a half years you must pass an English proficiency test.

This includes being able to speak English to a level determined by tests that are Home Office approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT).


What Does Brexit Mean For Austrians Studying English in the UK

Austrian students with a desire to study in England may have to wait to determine which line the British government takes.

A „soft Brexit” will mean students from Austria will be eligible for lower tuition fees that are offered to British students. You may also be entitled to the standard funding options.

In the event of a “hard Brexit”, the most likely scenario is European students will have to pay international tuition fees which are substantially higher.


Do You Need To Learn Business English in Vienna?

I’ve already documented the reasons why it is important for non-English speakers living in Vienna to learn business English, so I won’t go into too much depth again here.

You can read more about why business English is still important in this article.

In a nutshell, English is still the most predominant language in the business world and companies still look to recruit employees that can speak business English to a high level.

A move away from English as the global language for businesses is not likely to happen any time soon.

Brexit may create more paperwork and regulations, but this will probably mean employees and business owners in Vienna need even more command of business English to understand terms and conditions together with a working knowledge of legal English.

E4P specialises in business English and legal English. Our Business English language courses in Vienna are conducted by native English speakers with many years of experience of living, teaching and socialising with Austrians.

If you’re a professional looking for a personalised 1-2-1 English language course or and English-speaking business looking for group courses for your employees, get in touch today.



Glossary of terms:


take root in Vienna – form a base

Brexit has “thrown a spanner in the works”. –  has complicated matters

despite the political uncertainty that shrouded Brexit – has surrounded Brexit

By all accounts – it would be true to say

regulations have been tweaked – adjusted slightly

UK-based haulage companies – transport companies

Coronavirus has expedited unemployment rates – increase rapidly

A smooth experience – an easy process

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