Resident Labour Market Test

The Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) is a key component of the recruitment process for Tier 2 migrant staff and ensuring that each RLMT is correctly conducted should be a top priority to ensure sponsor compliance.

When looking to recruit an overseas national for a UK role via the Tier 2 (General) immigration route, it is necessary for employers to first prove that an appropriate candidate cannot be found within the resident UK labour market. In most cases this must be done via an RLMT which involves advertising the role in the UK for a set period of time and assessing all candidates equally.

Conducting a compliant RLMT is not as simple as it sounds, however, as employers must retain a myriad of documents and data surrounding the process and be ready to justify to the Home Office not only why the successful candidate was chosen, but also why unsuccessful candidates were not chosen.

A compliant RLMT should contain these basic elements:

  • an advertisement period of at least 28 days
  • 2 advertisements for the role in question published to an approved recruitment platform (each advert needs to run for a total of 28 days and can either be posted at the same time or one after the other)
  • detailed information on the skills and qualifications required for the role, along with information concerning the location, salary and job description

These are only the fundamental requirements of a compliant RLMT, however the sponsors should be aware of the many strict requirements surrounding the advertisements and the consequent recruitment process.

Exemptions from the RLMT

The current exemptions apply to individuals who already have permission to stay and work in the UK in any of these categories and are switching into tier 2:

  • Tier 1 (post-study work)
  • the International Graduates Scheme
  • the Fresh Talent Working in Scotland Scheme
  • the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme
  • Tier 4 as a student and they have received final results confirming that they have passed and will be (or have been) awarded a UK recognised bachelor’s or master’s degree, or have passed and will be (or have been) awarded a UK Postgraduate Certificate in Education, or have completed a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD. Since January 2018, Tier 4 Students can apply after completing their course rather than waiting for the results.

You also do not need to complete a RLMT if:

  • The job is on the Shortage Occupation List. You can only use this exemption if the migrant will be working for 30 hours a week or more.If the job comes under Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code ‘2231 Nurses’ you must still complete a Resident Labour Market Test, even if this SOC code is on the Shortage Occupation List.
  • The job is an Intra Company Transfer
  • The migrant is already working for you on a tier 2 or Tier 5 visa and needs to extend their leave to remain in the UK under the same category, and in the same job.  Tier 5 visa holders cannot switch to the Tier 2 visa category from within the UK and need to apply for a visa in their home Country.
  • The annual salary for the job is £159,600 or above (£155,300 or above if recruitment took place prior to 6 April 2017 and £153,500 if recruitment took place prior to 6 April 2015)

How to conduct RLMT?

You must advertise the role on at least two approved recruitment platforms and each advertisement must run for a minimum of 28 days. The adverts can be run simultaneously or one after the other.

Advertisements must be published on:

  • Universal JobMatch (or on Jobcentre Online for jobs based in Northern Ireland) and
  • one other platform such as a national newspaper or professional journal, or a professional recruitment website such as LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, Reed, TotalJobs, and

It is worth noting that there are separate rules for graduate recruitment programmes, roles offering an annual salary of £72,500 or more, multi-national/global organisations and those with over 250 permanent employees in the UK.

In order for your advertisements to be sufficiently compliant with the UK Immigration Rules, the information they hold must be clear, specific, and designed to identify the most suitable candidate for the role.

The following details must be included in the adverts:

  • Job title – This must exactly match the job title that will subsequently be used in the individual’s employment contract
  • Salary – A salary range can be given but you must pay the migrant worker an amount from within that range
  • Advertisement posting and closing dates – These must be clearly displayed and outline a minimum period of 28 days*
  • Company name – Where a recruitment agency arranges your advertising and your company name is not displayed in the advert, both a copy of the contract and a recent invoice between you and the recruitment agency should be kept on file
  • Location of the job
  • Job description – This must include main duties and responsibilities, along with any skills, qualifications and experience which are required for the role – be as accurate and detailed as possible to ensure that only suitable candidates will apply

*If the role is being advertised as part of a rolling recruitment programme, the advertisement must also show the period of the recruitment programme.

It is important to ensure that any ‘soft skill’ listed in the job description is accurately described and justifiably necessary to performing the role in question. It is also key that you are able to measure and evidence whether or not a candidate has these ‘soft-skills’ during the recruitment process.

Please note that once a job advertisement has been posted you should not amend it in any way. If an advert needs to be corrected then you may have to re-advertise the role completely.

It is important to make sure that you adhere to the following pointers throughout the 28-day advertising period:

  • You must take a screenshot of both advertisements on the first day of online listing.
  • You should use these screenshots to make a pdf copy of each advertisement to keep on file. The pdf should clearly show the date upon which the advertisement was first published on a particular website, the website URL and full advert details.
  • No amendments should be made to the advertisements throughout the time they are running (any changes may compromise the whole RLMT).
  • Neither advertisement should be taken down before its stated closing date.

Considering the applicants:

When considering the applicants who respond to your advertisements, it is important remember that a fair and objective recruitment process which identifies the applicant best suited to the role is central to a compliant RLMT.

When seeking to recruit an overseas worker in conjunction with an RLMT,
remember that:

  • you have a duty to review all applicants for the role;
  • any candidates who meet the skills and requirements listed in the job advertisement must be offered an interview;
  • you cannot refuse to employ an applicant on the basis that they have not met criteria which were not displayed in the job advert;
  • the successful candidate must meet the criteria displayed by the role advertisement and you must be able to prove this to a Home Office official; and
  • the successful candidate must have an employment contract which begins after the stated advertisement period has ended.

Below is a list of those records and information which employers are required by law to retain on file when assessing candidates as part of an RLMT:

  • The total number of applicants shortlisted for final review along with their names, addresses etc.
  • Copies of all shortlisted applications in the medium in which they were first received e.g. emails, CVs or applications forms
  • Detailed notes of all final stage assessments
  • For rejected settled workers – the reasons and evidence as to why they were deemed unsuitable for the role
  • Evidence that the successful applicant meets all requirements listed by the role advertisement
  • If a required skill level or qualification was listed by of the job advertisement, copies of any qualifications the successful candidate holds which confirm the required skill level e.g. degree certificate or Higher National Diploma

If any soft skills were included in the job description, it is also necessary to prove that the chosen candidate meets these requirements as well, and that unsuccessful applicants did not. Many employers find soft skills difficult to evidence but there are ways in which it is possible to do so. For example, references and detailed interview notes may suffice, or pre-employment aptitude tests such as personality tests.

Our immigration lawyers can ensure that you are fulfilling your Sponsor duties and meeting the requirements of the Resident Labour Market Test. We can assess whether the type of role you are advertising to non-EEA nationals applies under a category on the Shortage Occupation List. We can also oversee your advertisement of the role to ensure that it complies with RLMT standards.

Please call our expert Immigration Lawyers on 0330 058 3929.