UK Home Office Guidance on the Tier 2 Resident Labour Market Test

Employers must demonstrate they have conducted the Resident Labour Market Test before recruiting a non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrant worker under the Tier 2 (General) visa. The Home Office has made is clear that they will refuse Tier 2 applications where employers have failed to conduct the Resident Labour Market Test. Employers must demonstrate they have advertised the vacancy for at least 28 consecutive calendar days in accordance with their policy guidance, within the 6 month period before assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship to a non-EEA migrant. Assessing a candidate’s suitability for a job role solely on qualifications is relatively straightforward for employers but challenges often arise when assessing a candidate’s intangible skills referred to as soft skills which are not easily distinguishable.

Successful Tier 2 (General) applications made by LEXVISA Immigration Solicitors in London

Assessing soft skills under the UK Resident Labour Market Test

There is little flexibility available for employers in relation conducting the Resident Labour Market Test save for a few exceptions. The Home Office policy guidance on the Resident Labour Market Test can be seen as an authoritative set of rules which state how and when the Resident Labour Market test should be conducted. On the other hand, the Home Office policy guidance remains silent on the issues surrounding which particular soft skills can be specifically advertised in the Resident Labour Market Test. Soft skills are regarded as intangible skills which employers expect from their employees such as excellent time management skills, being a team player and communication. Assessing qualification and experience is a straight forward task as its either a simple yes or no. Assessing soft skills is a much bigger and demanding task as there is a  lack of guidance on the assessment of soft skills by the Home Office, which makes it unclear as to how broad the employer’s discretion is in the assessment of soft skills when hiring non-EEA national candidates.

Conducting Home Office Resident Labour Market Test

Employers in the hunt for suitable candidates to fill vacant job roles in their organisation must conduct a Resident Labour Market Test for 28 consecutive calendar days unless the job is listed on the Shortage of Occupation list.

The job must be advertised using two different methods, one method of advertisement must be using the Jobcentre Plus Universal Job Match Service to advertise the vacant job to UK settled workers. There are some circumstances where employers may not need to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test for instance where the annual salary of the vacant job is £72,500 or above or in the jobs relating to the creative sector where the non-EEA migrant will be making a contribution to the labour market. The second method of advertisement could be placed in the national newspaper, professional journals or in a milkround programme.

Whilst carrying out a Resident Labour Market Test UK employers must ensure the job role is advertised in accordance with the Home Office’s guidance. The Guidance states all Resident Labour Market Tests must address the following:

  1. Job description including duties and responsibilities;
  2. Location, type of employment and salary;
  3. Skills, qualifications and experience needed; and
  4. Closing date for applications.

A Certificate of Sponsorship can only be assigned to a non-EEA national worker once the Resident Labour Market Test has been conducted. If you fail to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test it is likely the non-EEA national worker will be refused a Tier 2 Visa and the Tier 2 Sponsor’s licence may be revoked. The Home Office policy guidance states that employers must consider all UK settled candidates ahead of non-EEA national workers. In our experience, the Home Office will not issue a Tier 2 (General) visa where an employer has failed to assess and employ UK settled candidates with the required qualifications and experience. After all, the purpose of the UK Home Office introducing the Resident Labour Market Test was to ensure that UK settled workers were not placed at a disadvantage from seeking employment in highly skilled jobs by the recruitment of non-EEA national workers.

Home Office Changes to Tier 2 UK Resident Labour Market Test

The Home Office are always updating or implementing new policies in an attempt to cut down on net migration figures in the UK and have recognised the need to protect  job opportunities for UK settled workers. Since 24 November 2016, the Home Office increased the Tier 2 (General) visa salary threshold requirement to £25,000 and have proposed a further increase of the salary threshold to £30,000 by April 2017. This marks a radical change to the requirements for obtaining a Tier 2 (General) visa and has made the requirements for obtaining a Tier 2 (General) visa stringent and complicated. It is therefore necessary to ensure you obtain specialist legal advice from solicitors with Tier 2 (General) visa knowledge and expertise.

Successful Tier 2 UK Resident Labour Market Test

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your applications before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration or visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We also undertake a great deal of appeal work before the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and have a successful track record of successful results for our clients. We have the experience and the knowledge required to take your case forward successfully. If you have had an application refused, contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.


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