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Farm workers: Gangmasters

All labour providers (including those based overseas) who supply people to work in agriculture, food and fish processing and packaging must be licensed.

It is a criminal offence to operate without a licence and the maximum penalty is ten years in prison. It is also a criminal offence for a labour user to enter into an agreement with an unlicensed labour provider, for the supply of workers. It will be a defence if the labour user can show that he/she took all reasonable steps to check that the labour provider was licensed. It is anticipated that these offences will apply to shellfish gathering from 1 April 2007.

Gangmasters Licensing Authority logoEnforcement is undertaken by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) on behalf of the Secretary of State.

To obtain a licence

Contact the Gangmasters Licensing Authority for more information.

Who has a licence?

Look at the register held by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority

Who needs a licence?

There are limited circumstances when a licence is not required. For more information see Exclusions from the Licensing Requirements.

Licence fees, standards and conditions?

For more information contact the GLA


An appeal can be made against licensing decisions made by the GLA. A Guide for people making an appeal is available. It includes an application form which can be printed, completed and submitted to the Secretariat.

For England, Wales and Scotland, the Secretariat can be contacted at:

Gangmasters Licensing Appeals
Electra Way
Crewe, Cheshire CW1 6GJ

Telephone: 01270 754231
Fax: 01270 754260

In Northern Ireland, the Secretariat may be contacted at:

Office of the Industrial Tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal (OITFET)
(Gangmasters Licensing Appeals)
Long Bridge House
20-24 Waring Street
Belfast BT1 2EB

Telephone: 02890-327-666 (between 10:00am and 4:00pm)
Fax: 02890-230-184

Previous appeals lodged with the Secretariat in England, Scotland and Wales

This Register of Appeal Decisions (PDF 50 KB) document contains a list of all recent decisions made on appeals lodged with the Secretariat. Copies of original appeal decisions can be obtained from the Secretariat using the above postal or e-mail address.

Guidance for labour users (PDF 350KB)Guidance for labour users

A labour user can establish a defence if prosecuted by taking steps to ensure a labour provider is licensed:


For further information please contact:

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority
PO Box 8538
Nottingham NG8 9AF



Other sources of information

Page last modified: 18 October 2010
Page published: 17 September 2004