The Dutch government is recruiting up to 900 extra customs officers to strengthen border controls after Brexit.
Junior finance minister Menno Snel said adverts would be placed this week so that the new border guards are trained and ready to start work when the UK leaves the European Union in March next year.
Snel said between 750 and 930 more officers would be needed for a force that currently numbers around 5,000. The extra staff will be mainly required to check goods exports heading to and from the UK after trade restrictions are reintroduced.
‘It’s down to us to make sure that we are as well prepared as possible for the new situation [after Brexit] and that is especially the case for our customs operations,’ Snel told BNR.
Last month Anne Mulder, a VVD MP charged with assessing Brexit from the Dutch perspective, urged the government not to delay plans to increase its border control capacity. The number of export declarations is expected to leap by a third to more than 16 million in the year after Britain leaves the EU.
‘We can’t wait until there’s a deal, because you can’t train all those people in one week,’ Mulder told NRC.
Tourists and business travellers are unlikely to be affected as the UK is not part of the Schengen area, so border checks are already in place.
Meanwhile, the military police, who carry out passport checks at the Dutch borders, are recruiting 417 unarmed civilians and reservists for airport controls, the Financieele Dagblad said at the weekend.
The measure is intended to reduce the pressure on the border control service and shorten waiting times at airports during peak periods.
The new border staff be trained for four weeks (consisting of 80 hours of self-study and eight ‘contract moments’), followed by a three-month internship. It is a pilot project and a follow-up to an earlier experiment with unarmed reservists last year.