Employment Agency Complaints

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.

The EAI can only investigate certain types of complaints or activities that are specified in the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 or the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005.

The types of complaint we will investigate, for example, are:

If you are a work-seeker:

  • have you been charged by a employment agency to find you work?
  • has your employment agency failed to agree terms with you?
  • have you applied for a job, only to be told that it doesn't exist?
  • have you had your details forwarded to an employer without your knowledge?
  • have you been forced to pay for any of the agency’s other services before the agency will take you on their books?

If you are an employer:

  • has an employment agency not agreed terms with you?
  • have you found an agency advertising one of your vacancies without your consent?

If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’ and you wish to make a complaint, you can contact the EAI via any of the following ways:


EAI, Department for Employment and Learning
First Floor
Waterfront Plaza
8 Laganbank Road

Agency complaints in England, Scotland and Wales

If you have an agency-related complaint and you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you need to contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

Other complaints

If your complaint is not related to any of the examples listed above, there are other government bodies which are responsible for the enforcement of other workplace rights in NI.

Gangmasters Licensing Authority - The Gangmasters Licensing Authority external link is responsible for regulating those agencies who supply labour to the agriculture, forestry, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging sectors, as well as taking action to protect workers in these sectors

HM Revenue and Customs - HM Revenue and Customs external link is responsible for the enforcement of National Minimum Wage requirements and ensuring that workers and employees are paid appropriately.

RQIA - The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority external link is the body responsible for monitoring and inspecting the availability and quality of health and social care services in Northern Ireland.