Resident Labor Market Test (RLMT)

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What is RLMT?

RLMT is the compulsory advertising process an employer must undertake before they can offer a job that is not on the Shortage Occupation list to a non-EEA foreign worker. The RLMT ensures that settled workers are given an equal chance to apply and be considered for the job.

It preserves and promotes the settled UK workforce by requiring UK employers to exhaust options in the resident labour market before recruiting nationals from outside the EEA.

This is a requirement an employer must fulfil before it can apply for a certificate of sponsorship if the job is not listed under the shortage occupation list.

Who are Settled Workers?

Settled workers are those who have Indefinite Leave to Remain (a visa with no end date) or for other reasons do not have restrictions on their stay in the UK.

If there are no suitably qualified or skilled settled workers available to take up the position, only then will the employer be permitted to bring in a foreign/migrant worker.

Employers can only employ a migrant if:

  • they have completed a resident labour market test in accordance with the guidance and can demonstrate that no suitable settled worker is available to fill the job
  • the job is exempt from the resident labour market test 

How to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test

Advertising the job

Employers must advertise the job to settled workers for 28 calendar days except if it falls under the exceptions. The role can be advertised in two ways as shown below:

  • advertise the vacancy for a single continuous period, with a minimum closing date of 28 calendar days from the date the advertisement first appeared 
  • advertise the vacancy in 2 stages, with each stage being advertised for no fewer than 7 calendar days but where both stages total a minimum of 28 calendar days.

They must place two advertisements which must be in English or Welsh and it must include all of the following: 

• the job title 

• the main duties and responsibilities of the job (job description) 

• the location of the job 

• an indication of the salary package (including allowances) or salary range or terms on offer. 

• skills, qualifications and experience needed 

• the closing date for applications, unless it is part of a rolling recruitment programme – if it is a rolling recruitment programme, the advertisement should show the period of the recruitment programme.

All jobs must be advertised at least through 2 mediums. The first method is online through the relevant online government job-search service for example Find a Job, JobCentre Online, or Teaching Vacancies, while the second method could be either a national newspaper, professional journal or other online services.

The salary rate in the advertisement must be a true reflection of the company is prepared to pay and the rate they ultimately pay must be in line with the rate that was advertised.

Once the resident labour market test is completed, you must keep a record of all the documents used for the advertisement, recruitment and selection.

Exemptions from the RLMT

The following will be exempted from the resident labour market test.

  • Continuing in the same occupation with the same employer: If an existing employee needs to extend their leave in the same immigration category in order to continue working in the same occupation.
  • Shortage occupation list: You do not have to carry out a resident labour market test before assigning a Tier 2 (General) certificate of sponsorship (CoS) to fill a job in a shortage occupation in Appendix K to the Immigration Rules. The exception is if the job is in the occupation code ‘2231 Nurses’, where you must carry out a resident labour market test. You can only assign a CoS for a job on the shortage occupation list if the migrant will work for a minimum of 30 hours per week.
  • Post study work: You do not have to carry out a resident labour market test if a migrant you want to sponsor is already in the UK and is applying to switch into Tier 2 (General) leave and has, or was last granted leave to enter, or to remain in the UK under one of the following categories, Tier 1 (Post-Study Work), Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)  or as a Tier 4 migrant who was granted leave to study and during their last grant of leave, or a continuous period of leave that includes their last grant of leave, they have received final results confirming they:
  • have passed and will be (or have been) awarded a UK recognised bachelor’s or master’s degree,
  • have finished a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD.
  • High Earners: You do not have to carry out a test where the total salary package for the job will be £159,600 or above.

This list is not exhaustive and other exemptions do apply.

Complete information regarding the exemptions that apply to the RLMT can be found in the Sponsor Guidance and we would recommend that an employer reviews this guidance before assigning a certificate of sponsorship.

MichelleBelle Immigration Solutions have a specialist team dedicated to supporting employers with their Sponsor Licence application, RLMT and immigration compliance duties. For advice on complying with the regulations or if you would like to confirm if someone you wish to employ on a Tier 2 visa is exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test, then please contact us.

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