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> MIGRANT Home > Good practices database - Labour migration policies and programmes > The Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004

The Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004

  • Responsible Organisations: The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (Government)
  • ILO Regions: Europe and Central Asia
  • Country(ies): United Kingdom
  • Thematic areas: Fair recruitment
  • MLFLM: 13.
  • Sectors: Agriculture and fishing


The Gangmasters Act 2004 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that aims to safeguard the welfare and interests of workers in agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering, and any associated processing and packaging. The Act came about after the death of at least 21 migrant cockle pickers in northwest England in 2004, an incident which raised public awareness of the exploitation of migrant workers in the UK agricultural and food processing sector. The Act establishes regulations and licensing procedures for anyone employing, placing or supervising a worker employed in the above-mentioned industries, as well as for employment agencies. It makes it a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine, for labour providers to operate without a license, employers to knowingly use the services of an unlicensed labour provider, and to obstruct the work of enforcement officers. The Act also established the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, a non-departmental public body that issues licenses and ensures compliance through inspections. The Authority provides informational material for workers in 18 different languages, and maintains a public list of labour providers who are licensed or who have applied for a license.


last updated on 05.05.2015^ top