Nepalese recruitment agency loses GLAA licence
13th March 2023
A Nepalese recruitment agency has lost its Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) licence after investigations revealed that workers were charged exorbitant job-finding fees before arriving in the UK.
GLAA officers have revoked the licence of Adept and Agile with immediate effect.
This means that the business will no longer be able to supply workers into the GLAA regulated sectors of agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering, and any associated processing or packaging.
Adept and Agile’s two directors Pravin Rimal and Resham Gurung failed the GLAA’s fit and proper test after being handed an interim Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order (STRO) in December 2022.
STROs are civil orders issued to restrict the activities of individuals who pose a serious risk of otherwise committing slavery or trafficking offences.
The order placed a number of restrictions on the pair including preventing them from acting as gangmasters.
GLAA investigators spoke to Nepalese workers recruited by Adept and Agile as part of its investigations. More than 100 confirmed that they had paid between £12,000 and £13,000 in order to find work in the UK.
They told the GLAA that the fee was either paid directly to Gurung, a relative of his, or someone at the offices of Adept and Agile.
Work-finding fees are explicitly banned under the GLAA licensing standards.
Several workers also told the GLAA that they were instructed not to tell anyone about the fee they paid otherwise they would be sent back home to Nepal.
Gurung, 65, and of Foxley Close, Blackwater, Surrey, and Rimal, 56, and of Ring Road, Gwarko, Kathmandu, Nepal, have not appealed the GLAA’s decision.
GLAA Head of Regulation Nicola Ray said: “Our investigations concluded that workers were exploited and charged extremely high work-finding fees by Adept and Agile.
“We are very clear that licence holders must not charge a fee to a worker for any work-finding services. Adept and Agile breached the requirements of this critical licensing standard leaving us with little option but to revoke the company’s licence.
“Both of the agency’s directors were also prohibited by court order from acting as gangmasters which only added to the overwhelming evidence that they were not fit and proper to hold a GLAA licence.
“Our licensing scheme is a vital tool for protecting workers from labour exploitation. We are committed to robustly managing the regulated sector so businesses meet their legal obligations to workers.”