Movement Assistance Scheme: get help with moving agrifood goods to Northern Ireland
Movement Assistance Scheme: Advice for certifiers
Last updated 4 April 2022
The Movement Assistance Scheme means that if you're a certifier you must not charge for inspecting and certifying some agrifood goods or scrapie tests to issue export health certificates (EHCs). You can claim back costs up to a set amount.
The following types of goods are included in the Movement Assistance Scheme:
- live animals and animal products
- plants and plant products
- organic products
- some categories of high risk food and feed not of animal origin
The scheme also covers movements to Northern Ireland via the Republic of Ireland.
The scheme will close at the end of December 2023.
There is separate guidance for traders.
Live animals and animal products
If you're an official veterinarian or other certifying officer, you need to invoice the government for some of the costs of the certification service you provide. You must be registered on Export Health Certificate (EHC) Online to claim back your costs.
The government will reimburse:
- up to £150 excluding VAT for each non-equine EHC
- up to £500 excluding VAT for each equine EHC
You can include time you spend on travel on your invoice, based on your charge out rates.
You can invoice the trader for the remaining amount if the total cost is more than these limits.
If you complete multiple EHCs on one site visit, you can only charge once for time spent on travel.
You can also claim up to £150 (excluding VAT) for the costs relating to testing sheep for scrapie disease. You must do this test to get an EHC.
The certifying official veterinarian will invoice the government, not the trader, for the costs of the test.
The government is considering options to cover costs relating to health attestations - an assurance certificate of the various stages of production before you move goods to Northern Ireland - and will announce details when they’re confirmed.
Get started and carry out checks
You need to register on EHC Online.
You'll be notified of new certification requests on EHC Online.
After your first request, you'll be contacted by Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) with details of how to receive payment. You'll then be given a purchase order number by email, which you can use when raising invoices.
Follow the current inspection process to perform an EHC check. If the goods pass inspection, you can sign the certificate as you do now.
You’ll need to sign in to EHC Online after the inspection to confirm that the:
- checks have been completed
- details are in line with the certification you've provided on the EHC
Get a reimbursement
For Great Britain to Northern Ireland certificates, you should consolidate your invoices into regular batches, at least monthly.
You need to make sure the invoices include the:
- individual Great Britain to Northern Ireland EHCs which have been certified
- cost of each certificate
- purchase order number provided to you by APHA
You'll need to email the invoices to ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk for reimbursement.
You'll receive a payment in your bank account held on file.
Read further guidance on invoices is on the Vet Gateway.
Getting invoices right first time
Invoices must be for EHCs being claimed through MAS.
These EHCs must have NI as their end destination. Please note that movements from GB to NI through the Republic of Ireland (ROI) are also covered by MAS. Where live animals or POAO have an end destination other than NI, OVs and other certifiers should charge the trader for the EHC. Remember to complete EHCs in EHC Online.
Invoices for EHCs claimed through MAS are normally paid within 30 days from the date of receipt. Unnecessary delays can be avoided if certifiers provide nine pieces of essential information. Getting invoices right means including the following:
- Cost of checks based on existing fees (time spent x charge out rate/hour).This is often omitted by mistake;
- Travel time spent based on charge out rate (travel time can only be claimed for if it is not already included in your existing charge out rates). This is often omitted by mistake;
- Date of certification completion (this should match the date in EHC Online);
- Certifier ID;
- EHC serial number;
- VAT (at the appropriate rate) should be shown separately on the invoice as a separate charge;
- Unique invoice number;
- Practice details (registered trading name, address on letterhead and VAT registration number);
- PO number (as supplied by APHA team)
Submitting an invoice
OVs should include all EHC checks being claimed for on one invoice and submit the invoice, in pdf file format to ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk.
Plants and plant products
Government inspectors must not charge for:
- inspecting and certifying goods
- some of the costs incurred in getting a certificate to move plant and plant products
- an inspection fee when you first register with plant health exports audited trader scheme (PHEATS)
- auditing or monitoring fees for exporting fruit, vegetables and cut flowers from Great Britain to Northern Ireland
- International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) sample testing and certification for all individual seed lots moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland
Organic control bodies must not charge for inspecting and certifying the goods. Instead, you can invoice the government for the costs.
Organic control bodies can continue to charge traders for importer and exporter licensing. If traders move goods outside of Great Britain, they’ll need to pay for an exporter licence. Businesses based in Northern Ireland that receive goods from Great Britain will need to pay for an importer licence.
Traders can claim these costs back if they have only moved organic goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Traders can claim the costs back one year after they paid their registration fee.
High risk food and feed not of animal origin (HRFNAO)
Local authorities must not charge for inspecting and certifying the following categories of high risk food and feed not of animal origin products:
- Annex 2 of regulation 2019/1793
- products originating from countries listed in Annex 1 of regulation 2020/1158
Certifying goods to be exported from Great Britain to EU and non-EU countries
You should continue to invoice traders for certificates for Great Britain to EU and Great Britain to non-EU countries as normal.
First published 8 April 2021