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Employee

CUSTOMS BROKERS - OBLIGATION TO VERIFY THAT STAFF ARE FIT AND PROPER PERSONS

The ABF has announced major changes to customs broker licence conditions commencing from 1 July 2024. The changes place significant new administrative responsibilities on customs brokers regarding verifying the identity of staff and testing whether they are appropriate people to work within a licenced customs brokerage.

Under the new requirements relevant staff will need to complete a form providing personal details and details of past criminal offences together with providing identity documents.

Which staff are covered by the change

The new provisions relate to staff who “participate in the operations of a customs broker”. The provisions are mainly targeted at compilers and classifiers, but may capture others. The following persons are covered:

  • A person that is authorised by the broker to populate, pre-populate, answer any questions or edit any fields of an import declaration related to the classification, currency or valuation of imported goods within the ICS or any third party software that communicates with the ICS; or

  • A person that is authorised by the broker to answer or prepopulate the community protection questions for an import declaration.


This can cover staff who perform offshore data entry or job creation, if they are inputting the above data. It is important to note:

  • The information must be input into fields of an import declaration or be the answer to a community protection question

  • The information must either relate to a community protection questions, classification, currency or valuation

  • The data must be input into the ICS or a system that communicates with the ICS


This means that in most instances, the following activities will not be covered:

  • Completion of cargo reports and SACs

  • Job creation

  • Inputting data in a third party system which creates a file that is communicated to the customs broker

  • Issuing invoices or other administrative tasks


B1555 form

The B1555 form must be completed by all persons who participate in the operations of the customs broker. This form has previously been used by licensed depots and warehouses. The form can be found here.

The form requires staff to provide details of past traffic violations and any criminal convictions. Staff will also have to confirm whether MISC or ASIC cards have been suspended or cancelled, and for non-citizens, whether they have breached the conditions of their visa.

Staff will also have to consent to background checks which could include police checks or right to work checks.

Staff who do not complete the form and consent to checks are not permitted to participate in the operations of the customs broker (as defined above).

The identity of the staff member must also be identified. The ID requirements are set out in a separate form, but an example of the requirements would be each of a passport, drivers licence and bank card.

When do the changes commence

For existing staff, the completed B1555 form and ID documents must be obtained by 28 September 2024. For staff joining after 1 July 2024, the completed B1555 form and ID documents must be obtained within 7 days of commencement. So if you have new staff commencing on 3 July 2024, the forms will be required to be completed by 10 July 2024.

Other requirements

Customs brokerage will need to complete a staff list that records all persons that fit into the categories of “participating in the work of the customs broker” (defined in the Customs Act) and those that fit into the category of “participating in the operations of the customs broker”. The list will need to include the name and date of birth of the person, together with whether they have completed the B1555 and provided the required identification documents.

What if someone is not a fit and proper person or will not complete the forms

You must not permit someone to participate in the operations of the brokerage if they will not complete the B1555 or provide the required identification documents.

What do you have to provide to the ABF

You must inform the ABF if you become aware that a person has participated in the operations of the brokerage who has been convicted of certain offences, has been refused a transport security card or has breached a condition of their visa.

You do not provide the completed B1555 and identification documents to the ABF unless requested. However, once requested they must be provided.


The ABF can also require you to obtain and provide police checks and right to work checks in respect a person who participates in the operations of the customs broker.

What to do now

You need to take this new obligation seriously and take steps now to ensure that you comply. A failure to comply can result in infringement notices and in more serious cases, suspension or cancellation of your licence.

We suggest that as a first step you assess how are import declarations populated and community protection questions answered. This will help you identify who “participates in the operations of the customs broker”.

Once the individuals are identified, you should arrange for completion of the B1555 documents and obtain the required identification documents.

The required staff list will also need to be completed.

You will need to implement procedures for new employees. This will include identifying whether they fit into the category of “participating in the operations of the customs broker” and if so, adding them to the staff list and having the B1555 form completed.

For some organisations, they may also need to review employment contracts and privacy policies to ensure that those documents permit you to require completion of the B1555 and the handling of the personal information.

While there is 90 days to implement these changes for existing employees, remember that new employees are immediately subject to the requirements.

These requirements are important to the ABF and you can expect the ABF to require a high level of compliance. It has certainly been the case that the ABF has enforced similar requirements in respect of depots and warehouses.


Please contact us if you need help with the new customs broker requirements.

Customs Broker Licence Conditions: News
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