The Estate Agents Authority is to provide computer-based tests for agency licences which could be held almost every day, to address the problem of the large number of agents who have yet to pass qualification examinations. Before the end of next year, all practising agents will need to have passed the necessary exam or have completed their qualification courses if they want to continue working in the industry. However, about 7,000 existing property agents working under conditional licences, or more than 40 per cent of all agents, have still not fulfilled the conditions to obtain official licences. Of the 7,000, about 4,300 must pass a qualification exam to keep their jobs, while the remainder, as senior practitioners, are required to complete a qualification course. The authority's chief executive officer Grace Chow Chan Man-yuen said the computer-based exam would be available next March or April. The authority would conduct a survey of agents to find out why the 7,000 people had not yet sat their exams, or if they had difficulties passing them, she said. The Government introduced the licensing system in January last year to regulate property agents, but existing practitioners are allowed to operate under conditional licences until next year's deadline. Ms Chow said that after next year, the authority would introduce an electronic-licence application system for property agents. The system could allow a licence to be issued online within 24 hours after an application was submitted.