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The past year has been difficult for all of us and we are all waiting for 2021 to bring new hope on the horizon. It might not seem like it, but a lot is happening in 2021 with many law changes coming into force in just a few weeks.

On January 1st, the UK will be officially out of the European Union and it will bring a lot of changes to how the immigration system works, as well as changes that will affect businesses and employers. We have rounded up some of the most important changes and new laws taking effect in 2021:

Legal changes after the UK has left the EU

As you can imagine, a lot of the law changes in 2021 will have to do with Brexit. Whether there is a deal or no deal between the UK and the EU, travelling in Europe, mobile phone charges and healthcare will be affected.

Firstly, from the 1st of January, free movement of persons will end, and instead, there will be new immigrations laws set. Previously the UK’s freedom of movement meant that people could live and work in Europe.

The new immigration laws will be point-based, and people that want to work legally in the UK will have to meet specified criteria to earn at least 70 points whether from the EU or not. Non-UK workers will also have to be able to speak English and secure a job from an approved sponsor.

Find out more about the new points-based immigration system.

The UK leaving the EU will also mean that European Health Insurance Cards won’t be valid for most British citizens and mobile data roaming won’t be free anymore. Make sure to check with your mobile provider to see if you will be affected.

Lastly, the blue passports will be returning in phases in 2021 but current burgundy passports will still be valid until they expire and are replaced with the new blue ones.

Copyright law changes on January 1st

Changes to copyright law will come into effect on January 1st, after almost two decades of no changes to the law. The new law will give musicians, artists, and publishers the ability to be paid when their work is used online and to be better protected by law.

Using your phone to take pictures or record a video while driving will be forbidden in 2021

Using your mobile phone while driving will be banned in new legislation coming into force in 2021. The new law will replace the current loophole in the law which allows drivers to use their mobile phones to take photos or record videos.

Currently, the law states it is illegal to use a mobile phone “which performs interactive communication” like texting and messaging but is unclear about using your phone in other ways.

Changes to IR35 rules

From April 2021, reforms to the IR35 rules on off-payroll working will come into force. The rules will affect medium and large businesses within the private sector that use individual contractors via intermediary companies.

Under the new rules, the business that pays for the contractor’s services will have to determine their employment status and they will be responsible for accounting tax and national insurance. Currently, in the private sector it is the intermediary’s responsibility to determine whether they’re deemed employment and IR35 applies.

Medium and large businesses must assess and determine whether the new rules under IR35 apply to their independent contractors.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is due to end the 31st March 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was previously due to close at the end of October 2020 but was then extended until the 31st of March 2021. One thing we have learned in 2020 is that we can’t expect everything to go as planned but we can prepare for it better in 2021.

The scheme will be reviewed by the government in January 2021, and employers should be prepared to assess any changes that might impact their business.


We will keep you updated with any other new law changes and in the meantime please get in touch if you have any enquiries on how these changes might affect your business.

We are offering a free telephone service from Monday to Friday 9 am-5 pm if you need any advice on a legal or non-legal enquiry, please call us: 01325 482299 or email: