Last reviewed 17 February 2023. Last updated 17 February 2023.
The UK has left the European Union, and new rules now apply for travel and doing business with Europe. This page provides the British thoroughbred breeding industry with links to UK government information and industry specific guidance. This page will be reviewed regularly.
General Government Guidance
Freedom of movement of people between the UK and EU has now ended, and the UK has introduced an immigration system that treats all applicants equally, regardless of where they come from. The points-based immigration system now in place means that:
- Anyone recruited from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, needs to meet certain requirements and apply for permission first.
- Employers will need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK.
- Employers should plan ahead before recruiting anyone from outside the UK as it may take time to complete the necessary requirements and are strongly advised to seek professional advice as a first step.
Information can be found at:
Migrate-UK specialise in providing corporate and individual immigration advice and offers free initial advice (15 minutes). Their main services relate to the points-based system (PBS) sponsorship and compliance, as well as training HR departments of UK based organisations on required record keeping practices. To find out more, you can contact a member of the Migrate-UK team on 01235 841568, email [email protected] or visit the website at https://migrate-uk.com/
If you plan to move your thoroughbred to or from the UK to the EU, please review the current government guidance for importing and exporting horses and other equines through the links below, and review the Thoroughbred Breeding Industry FAQs.
- Export horses and ponies: special rules – click here.
- Getting and using a horse passport: Import or export a horse or related animal – click here.
- Get an EORI number – click here.
If you are not using a transporter company to organise the transport for you, you should also refer to the following links:
- Register for the Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS) if you plan to import horses from the EU.
- Register for the Export Health Certification Online (ECHO) if you plan to export horses from the UK. Guides from Defra on how to access the system and manage the application process can be accessed here.
- Register for a EHC number. You will not be able to apply for EU EHCs if you are not registered. Please note, it is important that each organisation only registers once. After registering, additional people can be added to the organisation’s account. If you are not the person who will register your organisation, please can you pass on the above links to the most appropriate person.
- Register as an export business: www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-an-export-health-certificate.
- Register as a Certifier (for Official Veterinarians, Food Safety Competency Officers, Certification Support Officers and their support staff only): www.gov.uk/guidance/certify-an-export-health-certificate.
- Guidance on how to get an EHC: www.gov.uk/guidance/get-an-export-health-certificate. Guidance Document Repository on Gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-register-for-export-health-certificate-ehc-online. Watch the UK government webinar on applying for Export Health Certificates here.
Read more about The Border Operating Model here.
VAT on Temporary Export and Import of Thoroughbreds
A new, industry-specific, facilitation has now been agreed by HMRC to the Temporary Admission procedure. This allows intermediaries (such as a transporter or shipper) to apply for an authorisation enabling them to move thoroughbreds under multiple ownerships, without the need for a financial guarantee to be provided on these movements.
Moving horses from GB to Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021:
The UK government has published the Northern Ireland Protocol, which sets out the details of an agreement in principle for implementation. In summary it advises:
- Equines moving from GB to NI will need to enter NI at a designated point of entry, where they may be subject to controls. Pre-notification requirements will also apply.
- There will be no changes to the way equines are exported from NI to the EU. These exports will continue as before.
- There will be no changes in the way horses and other equines are moved from NI to GB from 1 January 2021. These movements will continue as before.
The UK government has launched the ‘Movement Assistance Scheme’ to assist people who transport animals from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. The support includes a dedicated helpline and will mean businesses will not have to pay certification costs. Click here to access information on the scheme.