Employment Agencies

Employment Agency Inspectorate

The Employment Agency Inspectorate (EAI) of the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) is responsible for the regulation of the Northern Ireland private recruitment sector.

Legislation and Enforcement

Employment agencies and employment businesses in Northern Ireland must comply with the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 (‘the 1981 Order’) and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005 (‘the Conduct Regulations’).  The legislation exists to protect work seekers and employers using such agencies and businesses.

The 1981 Order provides the Department with the power to make legislation to regulate the private recruitment sector and was amended in 2006 and 2010.

The Conduct Regulations were brought into operation by the Department in 2005 and were amended in 2008 and 2010.

EAI inspectors can enter and inspect the premises and records of all employment agencies and businesses in NI to ensure compliance with the 1981 Order and the Conduct Regulations. You can find out more about the role of the EAI in the EAI Enforcement Policy (PDF 572KB).


The EAI has produced guidance on the Conduct Regulations for work-seekers, hirers and agencies.

Work-seekers can find more guidance around agency work on the NIDirect website. external link

Hirers and agencies can find more guidance around agency work on the NIBusinessinfo website. external link


There are several ways to make a complaint about an employment agency or business.

Prohibited Agents

The EAI has powers to prosecute or apply to prohibit non-compliant agents.

Table 1 lists agents who are currently prohibited by the EAI from running, or being involved in the running of, an employment agency or business in Northern Ireland.

Name of Prohibited Agent Name of Agency Sector Prohibited from Prohibited until
Patrick Duncan 'Dealers Agency' (Belfast) Actors / Entertainers 28 October 2011 27 October 2019
Glyn Davies Formerly t/a 'Lothian Variety' and 'Emkay Lothian Entertainments' (Lothian, Scotland) Entertainers / Models 13 June 2011 12 December 2020

Table 2 lists agents permitted to run or be involved in running an employment agency or employment business in Northern Ireland subject to certain conditions being met.

Name of Prohibited Agent Sector Conditions apply from Conditions apply until
Susan Davies Entertainers / Models 13 June 2011 12 December 2020

You can contact the EAI for further information on these conditions.

Other Information

The EAI has produced an information leaflet aimed at agency workers, with translations into eight minority languages.

You can find out more about the service standards you can expect to receive from the EAI.

The Department has agreed a Code of Conduct for agencies advertising on online job boards.

The Department commissioned research in 2009 into the size and nature of the private recruitment sector in NI.

EAI Annual Reports

The Department produces annual reports on the work of the EAI.

Contact Address

Employment Agency Inspectorate
First Floor
Waterfront Plaza
8 Laganbank Road
Email – eai@delni.gov.uk external link
EAI Helpline – 028 9025 7554(Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm)