Requirements for sponsoring an individual under Tier 2 of the Points Based System

Tier 2 workers must have a job offer, be issued with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the College and pass a points-based assessment in order to obtain a Tier 2 visa which provides permission to work in the UK.

We are only permitted to apply for or issue a CoS if the following requirements have been met:

  • A Resident Labour Market Test has been carried out and evidenced (unless exempt)
  • The job has been advertised in line with the relevant UKVI sponsorship codes of practice
  • The job meets the appropriate skill level (RQF level 6), the minimum applicable salary requirements and any specific criteria detailed in the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC code)
  • The individual can demonstrate they will score a total of 70 points across the different assessment criteria

Please view the following guidance for further information and contact HR for specific advice.

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Resident Labour Market Test

A Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) must have been carried out unless an exemption applies (see below for exemptions).

To meet the RLMT, the following requirements must be met:

The role must have been advertised as follows:

  • Within the six months before the CoS is assigned, or twelve months where advertising for designated PhD-level jobs (academic, teaching and research roles)
  • For either a single continuous period of at least 28 days, or in two periods where each period is no less than 7 days and the total period is at least 28 days
  • On 'Find a job' portal plus at least one other method permitted by the relevant code of practice.

The only jobs that do not need to be advertised on ‘Find a job’ portal are:

  • Designated ‘PhD level’ jobs (academic, teaching and research roles). N.B. these jobs still must be advertised in a total of two appropriate mediums (the College's employment site is a permitted medium, as is
  • Jobs paid at or above £73,900, but below £159,600 
  • Jobs that are exempt from completing a RLMT (Please see below)
  • Jobs for named / supernumerary researchers; where the peer reviewed funding agreement can be used as evidence of the RLMT
  • 'milkround' graduate recruitment exercises
  • Adverts must also include the specific information outlined in the College’s Advert template.


As part of the evidence we are required to keep in respect of an RLMT, please ensure that you retain the following documentation from the application process:

  • Evidence of all adverts – including screen-shots* of all online adverts with the full URL visible saved whilst the advert was live, ideally on the date the advert was placed. Where the screen-shot evidence is not saved on the first day the advert appears, the screenshot must also display the date that the advert was placed.

*screen-shots should be saved, using Print Screen function key. The screen-shot should display the full advert information (listed below) as viewed on screen, rather than printing from web browser menu, as this may not show full URL. For adverts that cannot fit onto one-page, multiple screen-shots can be saved within the same document, (please see an example here)

Adverts must include the following information:

  • job title and job reference number
  • main duties and responsibilities of the job
  • location(s) of the job
  • indication of salary package or range - for senior grade roles, if a salary range cannot be used please state ‘Internationally competitive salary’ where appropriate  (additionally please note that the salary offered/paid must be within the range advertised)
  • qualification(s) required
  • skills and experience needed
  • the closing date for applications
  • The names and total number of all applicants shortlisted for final interview. Our Shortlisting record form should be used.
  • Notes from the final interview, demonstrating how each interviewee was rated against the person specification criteria and, unless a designated PhD level SOC code, this must also state the reasons why each settled worker was rejected at final interview. Our Interview assessment form should be used.


  • The job is on the current Shortage Occupation List (SOL).  Although Nurses are on the SOL, they do require a RLMT (effective from 24 November 2016).
  • The individual currently has permission to stay in the UK as a Tier 4 student migrant and has either:
    • completed, or is applying for leave to remain no more than 3 months before the expected completion date for, a course leading to a UK recognised bachelor’s or master’s degree or UK Postgraduate Certificate in Education or a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education (not a qualification of equivalent level) or
    • has completed a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD
  • They will be doing a job with a gross annual salary of £159,600 or more
  • The individual is named on the grant in a supernumerary research role and so is over and above your normal staffing requirements
  • The individual is an established member of a research team relocating from another sponsor who has worked with the Principal Investigator (Lead Researcher) for a continuous period of 12 months immediately preceding their visa application (or for 12 months during the 24 months immediately before the date of the application, if the applicant has been on maternity leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave, adoption leave or long term sick leave during that time)

Standard Occupational Classification

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)  is a common classification of occupational information for the UK.  Jobs are classified in terms of their skill level and skill content.

For a Certificate of Sponsorship to be issued, a job must meet:

  • the appropriate skill level (RQF Level 6)
  • the minimum Tier 2/new entrant/experienced worker salary rate for the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC 2010) code within the Codes of Practice
  • any specific criteria detailed in the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC 2010) code within the Codes of Practice

In the majority of cases a Resident Labour Market Test must be carried out to show that no suitably qualified / skilled settled workers can fill the job (unless the job is exempt).  The only exception to this is for designated PhD level jobs where recruiters can select the best candidate for the job rather than the most suitably qualified / skilled settled worker.

Designated PhD level jobs include all jobs in the following SOC codes:


Job title


Chemical Scientists


Biological Scientists and Biochemists


Physical Scientists


Social and Humanities Scientists


Natural and Social Science Professionals not elsewhere classified


Research and Development Managers


Higher Education Teaching Professionals

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

A CoS is not an actual certificate or paper document, but a virtual document, similar to database record.  When we assign a CoS the individual will need to quote the CoS number on their application form when applying for entry clearance (if outside the UK) or leave to remain (if inside the UK).

A CoS is valid for 3 months from the date it was assigned and can only be used once to support an application for leave.  Applications for initial leave cannot be made more than 3 months in advance of the start date quoted on the CoS.   If an individual does not use the CoS within the 3-month period to apply for entry clearance or leave to remain, it automatically becomes invalid. 

If the application is refused, the individual must be issued with a new CoS if they wish to make a new application.

Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship 

The College has an annual allocation of unrestricted CoS, which may be issued at any time but only to the following applicants:

  • In country applicants whose College contracts are being extended
  • In country applicants who are subject to transitional arrangements as a Tier 2 or work permit holder
  • In country applicants changing employment within the College where the new job is in a different SOC code; or moving from another employer and starting work for the College
  • In country applicants switching from another eligible immigration category into Tier 2
  • Applicants who will fill a vacancy classified under a designated PhD level SOC code (both in and out of country)
  • High earners (both in and out of country)

NB: An exception to this is where Tier 4 dependants switch into Tier 2 in their own right. These individuals count towards the annual limit and therefore require an RCoS, unless they will fill a vacancy classified under a designated PhD level SOC code.

Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS)

There is an annual limit of RCoS for the whole of the UK; the figure is set each year.   The following applicants are included in the annual limit and must be issued with an RCoS:

  • New out of country applicants filling a vacancy (unless the individual is filling a vacancy classified under a designated PhD level SOC code, or will have an annual salary of over £159,600).
  • Tier 4 dependants switching into Tier 2 in their own right (unless the individual is filling a vacancy classified under a designated PhD level SOC code, or will have an annual salary of over £159,600).