In the build-up to Brexit at the end of October, the Irish Government, in association with key industry partners, has launched a new support measure to help customs agents, intermediaries and affected Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements due to the UK’s departure from the EU, notably under No Deal.
The number of customs declarations required is estimated to rapidly increase due to Brexit, from 1.6m annually to an estimated 20m after Brexit.
Clear Customs has been designed by industry for industry as they prepare for the new customs requirements post-Brexit. The initiative, which is being made available immediately to customs agents, intermediaries and eligible businesses free of charge, comprises of two elements:
- Firstly, a training programme delivered nationwide over a period of 6 weeks providing the essential skills needed to make a compliant customs declaration.
- Secondly, eligible businesses can apply for a Customs Financial Support payment to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning new staff to customs roles. Subject to terms and conditions for eligibility, this payment is up to €6,000 per employee that completes the training programme, up to maximum of 10 employees per company.
Clear Customs is the latest Government initiative developed to further address the significant risk identified in the Government contingency planning that, despite the series of measures already undertaken, there will not be enough capacity in the customs agents sector in the period immediately following a no deal Brexit. Previous actions in the area have included the rolling out of customs training courses across the country through both the Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland, together with the introduction of changes to the employment permit system to allow an additional 300 workers to come to Ireland for customs roles.
Skillnet Ireland is now seeking expressions of interest from businesses who wish to develop their customs capacity. Businesses should visit its website to learn more and register for the initiative. Expressions of interest for Customs Financial Support payment must be made via the Skillnet Ireland website before 20th September 2019.
Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D.: “If you trade with the UK, Brexit will most definitely impact your business. This targeted measure is aimed at supporting and incentivising capacity building in the customs agent sector. This is complementary to the Government’s overall efforts to support and facilitate smooth and efficient trade flows. You should make necessary preparations now to minimise disruption to your business come 31 October – register for an EORI number, work out how you are going to make your customs declarations and if you will require a customs agent to assist you.”
Commenting on the new initiative, Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. called on businesses to act now before the Brexit deadline: “Many businesses are telling me that it is difficult to plan for a situation that remains so unpredictable. That is understandable. It can be difficult for firms to plan from week-to-week let alone beyond that and into the unknown. Notwithstanding the uncertainty, however, there are several areas where they can take immediate action to prepare. This Clear Customs initiative is one of those areas, so I am advising businesses to start now and not leave it too late.”
Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development John Halligan T.D. said: “Clear Customs is key to ensuring that businesses are supported to upskill staff rapidly by 31st October 2019 to deal with any new customs challenges. Government recognises the need for support in this area and this free training from Skillnet Ireland is an important step in ensuring businesses are prepared. We are calling on business owners to provide leadership and avail of this opportunity to train their staff in customs clearance procedures, pre-empting Brexit related customs implications for their business.”
The Clear Customs initiative is led by Skillnet Ireland, the Government agency responsible for workforce development, together with Enterprise Ireland. The training programme has been designed in close collaboration with key industry associations and will be delivered by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Skillnet, in conjunction with the Irish Exporters Association and Irish International Freight Association.
Launching Clear Customs, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive Paul Healy said: “At Skillnet Ireland we pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly and effectively to the skills challenges that business face right across the economy. Clear Customs is a powerful example of what can be achieved through effective collaboration between the State, the business community and training providers.”
Enterprise Ireland Chief Executive Julie Sinnamon added: “Since the UK Referendum vote, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices have developed and are delivering a wide range of specific supports in key areas to assist businesses prepare for Brexit. Transport and Logistics is one of those key areas where companies need to research and examine their supply chains, customs procedures, product certification and licensing processes to ensure they are Brexit ready. This new customs training support scheme we are launching will further assist companies increase their capabilities in this important area whilst also helping to reduce disruption to trade following Brexit.”
Visit www.skillnetireland.ie/clear-customs to register your interest.