Human Resources

Resident labour market test

How to complete the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) before employing a worker under Tier 2 (General).

What is the resident labour market test?

Before you assign a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to a worker from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), the RLMT normally must be carried out. Exceptions to this rule are:

  • jobs on the shortage occupation list
  • where a worker is switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General) and meets certain requirements.

Further information on switching from Tier 4 into Tier 2 can be found by following the below link.

Undertaking the RLMT ensures that no suitably qualified settled worker is displaced by an international worker. If you carry out the RLMT and can show that there are no suitable qualified settled workers to fill the job, we can assign a Tier 2 CoS, however exceptions apply for PhD level roles.

You can meet the resident labour market test by advertising the vacancy. All vacancies must be advertised to settled workers for 28 calendar days. You can choose to do this in one of two ways by:

  1. Advertising the vacancy for a single continuous period, with a minimum closing date of 28 calendar days from the date the advertisement first appeared.
  2. Advertising the vacancy in two stages, where each stage lasts no less than 7 calendar days and both stages added together total a minimum of 28 calendar days.
    1. For example, you can initially advertise the vacancy for 14 calendar days. If a suitable settled worker is identified, you can appoint them straight away.
    2. However, if no suitable settled worker is identified, you cannot appoint an international worker who applies at this stage - you must advertise the vacancy for a further 14 days, making 28 calendar days in total. If no suitable settled workers are identified during either the first or second stage, the resident labour market test has been completed and you can appoint a Tier 2 sponsored worker.

Please note that usually a CoS must be applied for within 6 months of the date when the post was first advertised. However for PhD level jobs, the period for which the RLMT is deemed to have been satisfied is 12 rather than 6 months.

The sponsored worker must apply for entry clearance/leave to remain within 3 months of the date the CoS is issued; they must also apply no more than 3 months before the start date on the CoS.

The period of advertising starts from the date the advertisement first appears.

Advertising a vacancy

To complete a RMLT for any job in the Tier 2 (General) category, you must place two job advertisements using the methods permitted by the UKVI.

Jobs must be advertised with the Job Centre and one other method which includes:

National Newspaper - which must be published at least once a week and is marketed throughout the UK or throughout the devolved nation in which the job is located

Professional Journal - which is published for a particular field and is available nationally either through retail outlets or subscriptions. The journal must be published at least once a month and be relevant to the nature of the job.

Internet - there are no restrictions on the specific website but it must be an online version of a national newspaper, online version of a professional journal or the website of a prominent or professional recruitment organisation.

Organisations which have over 250 permanent employees in the UK are also permitted to advertise the job on their own website.

The advertisement must include the following:

  • the job title
  • the main duties and responsibilities of the job (the job description)
  • the location of the job
  • an indication of the salary package or salary range or terms on offer
  • the skills, qualifications and experience needed
  • the closing date for applications, unless the job is part of a rolling recruitment programme (in which case the advertisement should state the period of the recruitment programme)

PhD Level Roles - Exceptions

For jobs requiring PhD level skills, employers may recruit the most suitable person for the job not necessarily the most suitable person from the resident labour force.

The period of validity for the RLMT is 12 rather than 6 months.

PhD level jobs will still need to be advertised but are no longer required to be advertised in Jobcentre Plus, however, it is University policy to do so unless in exceptional circumstances and in agreement with your local HR team. If the job is exempt from advertising through the Job Centre, you must advertise the vacancy using two other media meeting the UKVI requirements. They do not have to be two different methods, for example you could advertise in two different professional journals.

Named Researchers

If you want to employ someone who is a Named Researcher you do not need to advertise the vacancy.

'Named Researchers' are defined as those whose employment is linked to specific research grants awarded to Higher Education Institutions or Research Institutes by external organisations.

They will be named specifically on the research grant because their knowledge and expertise in the relevant field means they are the only person able to undertake the research. If they are unable to come to the UK the research grant would be cancelled.

The UKVI require that evidence is kept of the competitive process that took place. For example, an advertisement for the grant, a programme for the selection process, the judging criteria or any other evidence.

Academic Leave

You do not have to carry out a resident labour market test if you are a Higher Education Institution and were previously sponsoring a worker who is returning to resume their post following a period of academic leave.

The worker must have previously been granted entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 2 (General) sponsored worker and the break in their employment must have been solely due to a period of academic leave.

This does not override the rules on cooling off periods which will still apply if the sponsored worker is still applying to return to the UK.

Shortage Occupations

You do not need to advertise a positon if the job is on the shortage occupation list.

For an up to date list of jobs on the Shortage Occupation list see:

Skill Level and Salary

You cannot apply for a CoS for a post which is below graduate level. All sponsored workers must be paid the appropriate salary rate. Where an individual meets the criteria for a ‘new entrant’ the salary must be at least £20,800 per annum. The salary for an experienced worker must be £30,000. For both new entrants and experienced workers the salary must meet the minimum or the minimum rate quoted in the relevant Code of Practice, whichever is higher. This means for experienced workers only jobs above grade 6, spine point 28, which are at graduate level or higher and meet the appropriate salary rate, can be sponsored under Tier 2.

Further information and guidance can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website: