The Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) is a crucial process in the United Kingdom’s immigration system. It is designed to ensure that employers give priority to local workers before recruiting from overseas. Understanding the RLMT is essential for both employers and prospective employees. In this article, we will delve into the purpose and importance of the RLMT, its requirements and criteria, as well as provide a step-by-step guide to conducting the test.

Purpose and Importance of the RLMT

The primary purpose of the RLMT is to protect the domestic labor market and give preference to local workers. By requiring employers to demonstrate that no suitable resident worker is available to fill a particular job vacancy, the RLMT aims to maintain a balance between the needs of employers and the interests of the local workforce. It ensures that job opportunities are first offered to UK residents before considering foreign candidates.

The RLMT is of utmost importance because it plays a crucial role in determining whether an employer can sponsor a non-EEA (European Economic Area) worker under the Tier 2 visa category. Without completing the RLMT, an employer cannot proceed with their immigration application. Therefore, understanding the intricacies of the RLMT is essential for employers who wish to hire non-EEA workers and for individuals seeking employment in the UK.

RLMT Requirements and Criteria

To conduct the RLMT, employers must fulfill specific requirements and criteria. Firstly, they must advertise the job vacancy in question for a minimum period of 28 calendar days. This advertisement should be made through specified channels, including Jobcentre Plus, professional journals, and national newspapers. The job description and requirements should be clearly outlined to attract potential applicants.

Once the advertisement period is complete, employers must assess the applications received. If a suitable resident worker is found who meets the job requirements, the employer must offer them the position. However, if no suitable resident worker is found, the employer can proceed with recruiting a non-EEA candidate. In such cases, the employer must provide evidence that they have genuinely conducted the RLMT and have been unable to find a suitable resident worker.

Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting the RLMT

Conducting the RLMT involves a series of steps to ensure compliance with the immigration rules. Here is a step-by-step guide to help employers navigate through the process:

  1. Identify the job vacancy: Determine the specific role for which recruitment is required and establish its requirements.

  2. Draft a comprehensive job description: Clearly define the responsibilities, qualifications, and skills required for the position.

  3. Advertise the vacancy: Use approved channels to advertise the job for a minimum of 28 calendar days, ensuring it reaches a wide audience.

  4. Document the recruitment process: Keep records of all applications received, including CVs, cover letters, and interview notes.

  5. Assess the applications: Review each application carefully, comparing the candidates’ qualifications with the job requirements.

  6. Offer the position: If a suitable resident worker is found, make an offer of employment to them. Ensure the terms and conditions comply with the relevant employment laws.

  7. Provide evidence: If no suitable resident worker is found, gather evidence to demonstrate that you have genuinely conducted the RLMT and have been unable to find a suitable candidate.

By following these steps meticulously, employers can navigate the RLMT process successfully and ensure compliance with the immigration rules.

Challenges and Common Pitfalls in the Process

While the RLMT is a necessary part of the immigration process, it can present challenges and pitfalls for employers. One common challenge is the need to provide evidence of genuine attempts to recruit locally. Employers must keep detailed records of the recruitment process, including the sources used for advertising and the number of applications received.

Another common pitfall is the failure to meet the specific criteria outlined by the Home Office. Employers must ensure that they comply with the minimum advertising requirements and that the job advertisement clearly states the job description, qualifications, and skills required.

Furthermore, the RLMT process can be time-consuming and may delay the recruitment process. Employers must plan and factor in the additional time required for conducting the RLMT, especially if they anticipate the need to recruit non-EEA workers.

Tips for a Successful Test

To ensure a successful RLMT process, employers can follow these tips:

  1. Plan: Start the RLMT process well in advance to avoid unnecessary delays.

  2. Advertise widely: Use a variety of channels to reach a diverse pool of potential applicants.

  3. Keep detailed records: Document every step of the RLMT process, including all applications received and the reasons for rejecting candidates.

  4. Stay up to date with immigration rules: Regularly check for updates and changes to the RLMT requirements to ensure compliance.

  5. Seek professional advice: If in doubt, consult with immigration experts or legal professionals who specialize in the RLMT process.

Adhering to these tips will increase the chances of a successful RLMT and streamline the recruitment process for employers.

Alternatives to the RLMT

While the RLMT is the standard requirement for employers wishing to recruit non-EEA workers, there are a few alternatives available. The most common alternative is the “Shortage Occupation List,” which identifies occupations facing a shortage of skilled workers in the UK. If a job falls within the shortage occupation list, employers are exempt from conducting the RLMT.

Another alternative is the “Intra-Company Transfer” route, which allows multinational companies to transfer employees from overseas branches to the UK without the need for an RLMT. However, this route has specific criteria and does not apply to all situations.

Understanding the Impact of the RLMT on Immigration Applications

The RLMT has a significant impact on immigration applications, particularly for employers wishing to sponsor non-EEA workers under the Tier 2 visa category. Without completing the RLMT, employers cannot proceed with their immigration applications. Employers must understand that the RLMT is a mandatory step and failure to comply with its requirements can result in the rejection of their immigration application.

For prospective employees, understanding the RLMT is essential as it determines whether they have an opportunity to secure a job in the UK. Non-EEA workers can only be recruited if a suitable resident worker is not available. Therefore, individuals seeking employment in the UK must be aware of the RLMT requirements and the impact it may have on their job prospects.

Recent Updates and Changes to the RLMT

The RLMT requirements and criteria are subject to updates and changes. Employers and individuals need to stay informed about any recent developments in the RLMT process. The Home Office regularly reviews and modifies the RLMT to align with the changing needs of the UK labor market.

To ensure compliance and avoid any unnecessary hurdles in the RLMT process, employers should regularly check the Home Office website or consult with immigration experts for the latest updates and changes.


The Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) is a vital component of the UK immigration system, ensuring that job opportunities are first offered to local workers before considering non-EEA candidates. By understanding the purpose, requirements, and process of the RLMT, employers can navigate through the immigration process successfully. It is crucial to stay informed about any recent updates or changes to the RLMT to ensure compliance with the immigration rules. By following the tips provided in this article, employers can conduct the RLMT efficiently and avoid common pitfalls.

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