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.
The EAI has produced guidance on the Conduct Regulations for work-seekers, hirers and agencies.
- Guidance on the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005
Work-seekers can find more guidance around agency work on the NIDirect website.
Hirers and agencies can find more guidance around agency work on the NIBusinessinfo website.
There are several ways to make a complaint about an employment agency or business.
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|
|Mark McCrory||Actors||26 March 2010||25 March 2015|
|Susan Davies||Entertainers / Models||13 June 2011||12 December 2020|
You can contact the EAI for further information on these conditions.
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.
EAI Department for Employment and Learning,
39-49 Adelaide St
Belfast, BT2 8FD
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
EAI Helpline – 028 9025 7554(Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm)