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.
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.
At this stage, existing HCI profiling in the ICS will remain unchanged. 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 functionality in AIMS has the flexibility to work in conjunction with AEP, or it can work on its own. Where commodities are eligible for both AEPCOMM and HCI schemes, it will be able to provide importers end-to-end efficiencies (with document assessment and inspection).
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 managing HCI in the AIMS Q-ruler include:
- it ensures that ICS profiling is consistently applied to tariffs that are in scope for HCI
- it reduces manual assessment of eligible tariffs and entities for inclusion in HCI profiles; and
- provides transparency about a commodities inclusion on the HCI scheme.
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.
Qualifying for the highly compliant importer 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.
Eligibility criteria are set in the system and may differ according to the risk of the commodities on the scheme. There is no application process to qualify for the scheme. Once the AIMS Q-ruler identifies that a commodity is eligible for HCI, importers need to ensure that imported goods consistently meet import conditions and pass inspections.
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||Referral rate and Qualification number for ‘tight monitoring’ Inspection rate||Inspection rate at ‘monitoring’|
|Green coffee beans (for processing)||November 2022||100%
for 10 consecutive compliant imports
for 5 consecutive compliant imports
If you have any further questions or concerns in relation to highly compliant importer, please contact AEP Support.