Frequently asked Questions - agencies - Index Page

Frequently asked questions


Do I need a licence to run an employment agency?

No. Agencies must comply with the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and regulations but there is no requirement to be licensed. The EAA73 still refers to licensing but this was abolished in 1995. However, Nursing and Care agencies must be licensed by the National Care Standards Commission. In addition, labour providers in the agricultural, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing sectors are subject to licensing by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) opened for business in April 2006, and it will be a criminal offence to operate as a gangmaster without a licence from 1 October 2006 and to use an unlicensed gangmaster from 1 December 2006.

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What does the current employment agency legislation consist of?

The two main pieces of legislation are The Employment Agencies Act 1973 (ISBN 0118037099) and
The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, SI 3319 (ISBN 011048374X) which came into force on 6 April 2004.

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Can you send me copies of the legislation?

No. Like most legislation it is available for purchase from The Stationery Office.

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Can you help me set up an agency?

No. We can only provide advice on Employment Agency legislation. If you need help in starting a business, see BERR for Business or alternatively you can go direct to the Business Link web-site : Business Link : Practical advice for business

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Can I operate an agency from home?

There is nothing in the Employment Agencies Act 1973 to prevent you doing so, but you should check with your local authority.

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Do I need to form a company to run an agency?

No. There is no requirement for you to form a company. If you decide to form a company, you can find out more information from Companies House.

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Can a British agency operate in other countries?

It depends on the law of the country concerned. You should check with the Labour Attaché of the appropriate country's embassy in London.

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I want to charge workers a fee for finding them a job, am I allowed to do this?

A fundamental principle of the Employment Agencies Act is that workers may not be charged for work finding services. The exceptions to this are the entertainment and modelling sectors. Please telephone the enquiry line on 0845 955 5105 if you have a query relating to this area.

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