What is highly compliant importer?
In July 2018, the department implemented the Highly compliant importer (HCI) project that allowed importers with exemplary inspection compliance history for particular commodities to receive reduced intervention. HCI profiling was managed in the Integrated cargo system (ICS), and excluded Importers identified as ‘highly compliant’ from referrals to the department. HCI aligns with the Biosecurity Compliance Statement where, for certain commodities, the department may reduce border control referrals when strong compliance history is demonstrated.
What has changed?
From 21st November 2022, the highly compliant importer functionality will be managed in the Agriculture Import Management System (AIMS) Q-ruler. Note: At this stage, existing HCI profiling in the ICS will remain unchanged.
What commodities are eligible for the highly compliant importer scheme?
From 21st November 2022, the following commodities are eligible for HCI in the AIMS Q-ruler:
Green coffee beans (for processing)
|Tariff||In scope for AEPCOMM?|
Note: Compliant importers who were eligible under the Compliance Based Intervention Scheme (CBIS) will have their compliance history recognised under the Highly Compliant Importer (HCI) scheme.
Further commodities will be gradually added to the HCI AIMS Q-ruler in future releases.
Benefits of the highly compliant importer Q-ruler functionality
HCI will function at an ‘instance’ level, meaning that commodity lines that fall under the same compliance group and have the same importer will be grouped together and apply one outcome (i.e. inspection or release).
Other benefits of the HCI scheme include:
- it rewards compliant importers who demonstrate exemplary inspection compliance;
- reduces the number of inspection(s) and their associated fees; and
- provides efficiencies for both industry and the department in the management of biosecurity risk by redirecting resources to higher risk activities – particularly when used in conjunction with AEPCOMM.
How to identify if lines on an entry are eligible for the highly compliant importer scheme
Specific direction comments have been created to distinguish if lines on an entry are eligible under the HCI scheme. They are:
|Direction type||Standard comments|
|Documentation – HCI documentation||The goods subject to this direction require a documentation assessment under the Highly Compliant Importer scheme. Pursuant to section 127(1) of the Biosecurity Act 2015, the person who has custody or control of the documents in relation to the goods is to produce all relevant documentation to a biosecurity officer through COLS. Pursuant to section 123 of the Biosecurity Act 2015, a biosecurity officer will assess the documentation to determine the level of biosecurity risk in relation to the goods.|
|Inspection – HCI inspection||The goods subject to this direction require inspection by a biosecurity officer under the Highly Compliant Importer scheme. Pursuant to section 128(1)(a)(ii) of the Biosecurity Act 2015, the person in charge of the goods is to move goods to the location nominated in this direction as soon as practicable. The goods may be unpacked from the container(s) and must be presented to a biosecurity officer for inspection. Pursuant to section 125 of the Biosecurity Act 2015, a biosecurity officer will inspect and take samples of the goods to assess the level of biosecurity risk.|
|Final directives – Finalised and released||The goods subject to this notice have been released from biosecurity control under the Highly Compliant Importer Scheme.|
Instances where eligible lines will not process under the HCI rules include:
- higher system rules and profiles (e.g. SIP, CCV) have been applied to the entry;
- when an AEP processing error has been applied to the entry;
- when an NCCC verification is due; and
- when NCCC concerns other than rural are declared.
The table below details how compliance will be monitored under the HCI scheme:
|Commodity group||Date added to HCI||Referral rate and Qualification number for ‘Census’ inspection rate||Inspection rate at ‘monitoring’|
|Green coffee beans (for processing)||November 2022||100%
for 10 consecutive compliant imports
If you have any further questions or concerns in relation to highly compliant importer, please contact AEP Support.
There is no application process to qualify for the scheme. The AIMS Q-ruler will automatically monitor an importer’s compliance history count and automatically place eligible importers onto the scheme once they have reached a set number of consecutive compliant instances. To benefit from the scheme, importers need to ensure that imported goods consistently meet import conditions and pass inspections.
Further commodities will be added to the HCI scheme in future systems releases.
At this stage, existing HCI profiling in the ICS will remain unchanged.
If goods fail a HCI inspection, the rate of future inspections will subsequently increase. Please refer to the compliance model section for more information in relation to inspection rates.
HCI is not limited to lodgements under the class 19.2 AEPCOMM approved arrangement. If brokers are not class 19.2 AEPCOMM accredited, they can direct goods to be processed by the department and still be eligible under the HCI scheme.
Once the q-ruler process the in-scope AEPCOMM lines, it will then check if the goods are eligible for HCI and either direct the goods for inspection or release the goods.
INS will always be the AEP outcome for goods eligible under the HCI scheme. The q-ruler will determine if the goods are due or not due for an inspection, and issue an inspection direction, or a release from biosecurity control direction.
HCI is not an approved arrangement scheme.
Entries subject to an NCCC verification will not be eligible for HCI.
Goods can still be eligible for HCI if the entry is subject to an AEP verification. Once the verification has been performed, assessment officers will determine if a HCI inspection is due or not due and either release the goods, or direct for inspection.
As of 21st November 2022, green coffee beans (for processing) will no longer be available on CBIS.
The Highly Compliant Importer Q-ruler functionality works in a similar way to the Compliance Based Intervention Scheme (CBIS) process. However, HCI functionality will monitor compliance by ‘instance’ (i.e. at entry level or commodity group level) rather than assigning a different outcome per commodity line. The HCI scheme will group lines on an entry together that are from the same compliance group and have the same importer onto the one direction. HCI also has the flexibility to work in conjunction with AEP or it can work on its own.
All compliant importers who were eligible under the CBIS scheme will have their compliance history recognised and transferred over to the Highly Compliant Importer (HCI) scheme.