A new support measure to help customs agents, intermediaries and affected Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements that will be needed post-Brexit, has been launched by the Government.

Clear Customs has been designed by industry for industry, and it is free of charge to eligible businesses.

The initiative is necessary given that the number of customs declarations required is estimated to rapidly increase due to Brexit, from 1.6m annually to an estimated 20m after Brexit.

It includes a training programme which will be delivered nationwide over a 6 week period providing essential skills needed to make a compliant customs declaration. 

Business can also apply for a Customs Financial Support payment to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning new staff to customs roles. 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 skillnetireland.ie/clearcustoms 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 September 20, 2019.

Launching Clear Customs, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive Paul Healy said the initiative is a powerful example of what can be achieved through effective collaboration between the State, the business community and training providers.