Employment agencies

You can now call the Employment Standards Branch to pay your application fee and reduce processing time. Find more information in the payment instructions on the application form.

This information is also available in the following languages:

Employment agencies must be licensed in B.C.

An employment agency is a person or organization who charges a fee to recruit employees for employers. A licence is not required if an employment agency only recruits employees for one employer.

If you want to recruit or hire temporary foreign workers in B.C., you must be licensed as a foreign worker recruiter under the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act. You may require both an employment agency licence and a foreign worker recruiter licence to operate in BC. However, if you exclusively recruit foreign nationals, you may not require an employment agency licence. Visit Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers for more information.

Getting licensed: Use the following steps to apply for and maintain your licence.

Depending on your chosen method of payment, you can submit the application in different ways.

Pay with credit card

Email your application to Employment Standards first. To pay using a credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express), follow the instructions in the application to pay by phone and reduce processing time.

Pay with cheque or money order

Mail the application and payment (Payable to Minister of Finance) to the address below. We’ll send you confirmation when we receive your application and payment.

​Employment Standards Branch
Victoria, BC  V8W 9K1

If sending by courier:

​Employment Standards Branch
200-880 Douglas Street
Victoria, BC  V8W 2B7

Before a licence is issued, each application is assessed to make sure that an agency will operate in the best interests of employers and people who are looking for employment.

Applicants who previously had their licence cancelled may be refused another licence.

Attend an education seminar to find out about the responsibilities of employment agencies under the Employment Standards Act.

Licences can be cancelled or suspended if an employment agency:

  • Makes a false or misleading statement in an application for a licence
  • Contravenes the Employment Standards Act or Regulation
  • Fails to operate the employment agency in the best interests of employers and persons seeking employment
  • Fails to inform an employer with whom the agency has placed a domestic that the employer must register the domestic with the Employment Standards Branch

Submit an Application for Employment Agency Licence (PDF, 365.6KB) before your licence expires. If not, you could get fined for operating without a licence. You will not receive a renewal notice.

To pay the fee using a credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express), follow the instructions in the application to pay by phone and reduce processing time. Email your application to Employment Standards before you pay by phone.

Note: Debit cards (such as Interac or Visa Debit) cannot be used to pay the application fee.


Workers cannot be asked to pay hiring fees

Employers cannot receive money from someone who is looking for work. If an employer accepts money from a person looking for work, the money is considered their wages and must be paid back to them.

Employment agencies cannot charge workers to help them find a job, including:

  • Providing information about specific jobs
  • Contacting employers
  • Submitting job applications

An employment agency can charge money for services like advertising, immigration assistance, resume writing or interview preparation. They must not require people looking for work to pay for these other services as a condition of getting a job.

Employment agencies cannot pay others to help find a job for someone.

Employment agencies must keep accurate records of the employers and employees that they help

An employment agency must keep a record of:

  • Each employer they provide service to
  • Each person they direct to an employer for the purpose of being hired
  • Each person they provide employment information to

Agency records must be kept in English at the employment agency’s principal place of business in B.C. for two years.

If an employment agency has employees, they must also keep payroll and employment records for each employee for four years.