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Questions and answers

What is the purpose of the labour hire licensing scheme?

The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (the Act) responds to evidence of serious exploitation of vulnerable labour hire workers and to inappropriate labour hire business practices, and establishes a mandatory licensing scheme for all labour hire providers operating in Queensland. The evidence included:

  • underpayment, or non-payment of workers' wages, taxes and superannuation
  • not providing workers' compensation cover
  • not providing appropriate safety equipment or training
  • housing workers in substandard accommodation
  • forcing workers to use particular travel services at inflated prices
  • serious mistreatment of workers, including sexual harassment
  • withholding workers' passports
  • avoiding responsibilities by creating a new company to continue the business of a company that has been deliberately closed to avoid paying its debts, including employee entitlements and taxation obligations (known as phoenixing)
  • undercutting legitimate labour hire businesses as a consequence of not meeting legal obligations to workers and others.

The purpose of the scheme is to protect labour hire workers from exploitation and promote the integrity of the labour hire industry in Queensland.

Who does the scheme cover?

The scheme applies to labour hire providers operating in Queensland and those who use labour hire services.

Labour hire providers must be licensed to operate in Queensland and users of labour hire services must only use licensed providers.

Labour hire providers are broadly defined as a person (individual or business) that in the course of carrying on a business, supplies a worker to do work to another person (the labour hire user). The workers are paid by the labour hire provider.

However, a licence is not required where all workers supplied are:

  • high income workers – defined with reference to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) as an employee earning over the Fair Work Act 2009 high income threshold (currently $162,000 per annum from 1 July 2022 and subject to annual increases) and not covered by an industrial instrument (award or agreement)
  • director of a corporation and the only worker 'supplied'
  • an 'in-house employee' who is temporarily supplied to another person, where an 'in-house' employee is defined as an individual who:
    • is engaged as an employee by the provider on a regular and systematic basis
    • has a reasonable expectation the employment with the provider will continue
    • primarily performs work directly for the provider other than as a worker supplied to another person to do work for the other person.

    An example of this arrangement would be a genuine secondment.

  • employed by an employing entity, and only supplied to work  within a single recognisable business (this usually applies to larger businesses with a 'group' structure)
  • volunteer workers
  • students placed in work experience positions.

In addition, the following arrangements are not labour hire services merely because they are:

  • a private employment agent under the Private Employment Agents Act 2005 (Qld)
  • a contractor who enters into a contract to carry out construction work within the meaning of the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) engaging subcontractors to carry out the work.

If you are still unable to determine whether or not you are required to have a licence, please contact Labour Hire Compliance on 1300 576 088 and press option 2 when prompted.

How can I get a licence?

You can apply for a labour hire provider licence online through this website.

When you apply you will need to:

  • identify yourself, your address and your ABN (if applicable)
  • identify at least one person as a nominated officer who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the labour hire business
  • show that applicant and other people relevant to the application are fit and proper to provide labour hire services
  • show that you can comply with State and Commonwealth laws relevant to running a labour hire business and employing workers
  • show that the labour hire business is financially viable
  • pay an application fee.

Read more about the licensing criteria and an application guide.

After I apply for a licence how long will it take for my licence to be granted?

In most cases, where no further inquiries need to be made, the application will be processed within 14 business days. However, where further information is required, or an audit is necessary, the application will take longer to progress.

When can I commence operating as a labour hire provider after I have applied for a licence?

You must be licensed before you can provide labour hire services in Queensland.

When will my licence need to be renewed?

The licence must be renewed annually. An application for renewal must be made before the licence expires. A reminder notice will be sent to the licensee prior to the licence expiring.

What do I have to do as a labour hire provider?

All labour hire providers must have a licence to operate in Queensland.

Penalties apply if you provide labour hire services without a licence. Find out more about how to get a licence.

It is a condition of a licence that the licensee complies with all laws relevant to operating the labour hire business and employing workers.

You must also give notice of a prescribed change in circumstance within 14 days of the change occurring. Penalties apply for failure to give notice of these changes. (See below ‘change of details’ section for information on what is a change in circumstance)

Labour hire providers are also required to report on their activities to the Chief Executive every six months. This report is made online through this website.

The report will include:

  • the number of workers supplied during the period
  • the number of visa workers supplied during the period and the classes of visas held by those workers
  • a description of the employment arrangements entered into between yourself and the workers
  • where your workers worked
  • the type of work your workers did
  • details of any accommodation you provided or were aware anyone else provided
  • information about your compliance with relevant laws, and any disciplinary or enforcement action taken
  • details of any health and safety incidents your workers were involved in, or applications for workers’ compensation that your workers made.

View the Reporting guide for Queensland labour hire licence.

What do I have to do if I want to use labour hire workers?

If workers are supplied to you, you need to check whether the arrangements are considered to be labour hire under the Act.

If you want to use labour hire services you must only use a licensed labour hire provider. Penalties apply if you use a labour hire provider who isn't licensed.

The register of licensed labour hire providers enable you to check if your provider is licensed or find a licensed provider. You can also print out the details of the provider's labour hire licence.

How the scheme helps to protect workers from exploitation

The scheme:

  • prevents unscrupulous operators from being able to provide labour hire services by not granting them a licence
  • requires operators to comply with other relevant laws, such as the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
  • provides strong penalties for people who operate unlicensed, use unlicensed operators, or who make arrangements to avoid their obligations under the Act or Labour Hire Licensing Regulation 2018
  • increases transparency across the industry and provides better information to workers and users of labour hire services.

How compliance with the scheme is enforced

Labour hire licensing inspectors monitor compliance with the Act. Inspectors investigate suspected breaches of the Act and audit labour hire providers. Inspectors can enter and search premises, and require labour hire providers and users to provide relevant documents and information.

Read more about labour hire licensing inspectors and penalties under the Act.

How do I report a problem?

The Office of Industrial Relations works in partnership with other State and Commonwealth agencies to:

  • stop unfair competition in the industry
  • support responsible labour hire companies
  • protect workers from exploitation.

Please report a problem online if you have concerns or information about:

  • labour hire providers operating without a licence
  • a business using an unlicensed labour hire provider
  • a labour hire provider not complying with relevant State and Commonwealth laws.

I need to change my details, how do I do this?

Changes can be made through a 'Change of Circumstances' application on the online portal. You must notify us of a change in circumstances within 14 days. Changes which can be made through the online portal include:

  • trading names
  • business address and contact details
  • if the business begins to provide accommodation
  • changes to nominated officers or executive officers
  • changes to the fit and proper declarations
  • if the business begins to supply work to workers on temporary visas.

For further information visit change in circumstance and update details page.

Please contact Labour Hire Licensing on 1300 576 088 and press option 1 to speak to a licensing officer if there is something that needs to be changed that cannot be done through the online portal.

I did not receive my licence certificate when my licence was granted

To receive your labour hire certificate, log in to the online portal and go to the licences section using the left navigational menu. Here you will see a summary of your licence. Click on the licence number to produce your printable licence certificate.

Please note, for the licence certificate to print correctly, you need to decrease the print size to 75%.

I need to get a tax invoice/receipt for my application payment

To receive a tax invoice for your labour hire application, log in to the online portal and go to the payments section using the left navigational menu. You will see a summary of your payment, click on the invoice number to preview your printable tax invoice.

What payments methods can I use when paying for my labour hire application?

You can either pay with a credit/debit card, or BPay.

How long does it take to complete an application from start to finish?

You should allow yourself around 30-45 minutes to complete the application. You can save and go back to an application at any point using the save button at the bottom of the screen. View the guide to all information requested in the application.

There was nowhere on the application to upload the financial documents

The financial documents do not have to be provided to us at the application stage. If these documents are required, you will be contacted by Labour Hire Licensing. Section 23(3) of the Labour Hire Licensing Regulation 2018 states that a licensee must keep each record or document the licensee is required to keep under the Act for at least eight years after the licensee stops being a licensee.

I want to provide some supporting documents with my application in regards to certain questions

If you wish to provide any documents proactively for your application, these can be emailed to labourhire [at]

I have multiple companies which require a licence, can I apply for more than one licence?

To apply for more than one labour hire licence, you must register a new account for each application and a different email address will be required for each application.

Can I transfer my licence to someone else?

A licence holder must not transfer, sell, dispose of, lend or hire out their licence to another person or business.

Last updated 28 July 2022