Business travellers have been warned they could face trouble trying to enter the EU if there is a no-deal Brexit, according to experts.

Consultancy EY told the Financial Times that people travelling to the EU for business  without the right authorisation may have to obtain work permits on a country-by-country basis, which could take months to secure if immigration rules are enforced.

EY’s head of financial services immigration, Seema Farazi, said: “As of 1 November, assuming a no-deal exit on 31 October, businesses will have to navigate red lines across each of the EU27… This is a sea change for UK businesses used to the flexibility that has come with free movement.”

The European Commission has proposed visa-free travel for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period following Brexit, so long as Britain reciprocates.

However, the UK government says those needing to work or study during their trip – other than attending meetings, networking events, or conferences – may need to acquire a visa or permit if there is no deal.

New prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal.

The CBI has warned that British businesses could see disruption for employees sent to the EU for work and claims some companies could look to relocate to the union as a result, with head of employment Matthew Percival saying leaving without a deal could pose a “real threat to the UK’s competitiveness”.

According to the CBI, some countries such as Germany have prepared waivers for UK workers on stays of up to three months. Others may enforce tighter restrictions that prohibit financial services employees from conducting trading or portfolio management, for example.

Because each of the 27 EU member states would be allowed to impose their own rules in the event of a no-deal Brexit, businesses would have to consider whether their workers would need a permit to travel to certain countries – something neither the EU nor the UK can say for sure at this time.

The UK government directs all visa inquiries to each country’s embassy.

In any event, former transport secretary Chris Grayling confirmed the UK would be willing to reciprocate an EU proposal to allow flights to continue between Britain and member states, even in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

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