The launch of the Skilled Worker category on 1 December 2020 heralded a new age for sponsors with the removal of the resident labour market test (RLMT), the time consuming and administratively burdensome advertising requirement of the Tier 2 (General) immigration route. The RLMT arguably did nothing to protect resident workers and was often merely a box-ticking exercise for sponsors.
However, the guidance accompanying the new rules appeared to retain the RLMT requirement leading to months of confusion amongst practitioners and sponsors alike. The guidance stated that the same documents sponsors were required to keep on a sponsored migrant’s file when an RLMT had been completed were still required for sponsorship cases post 1 December 2020.
The guidance was finally amended this month to clarify that there were different recordkeeping requirements for cases where an RLMT was a requirement and for those where it was not. The guidance also gives examples of the permissible circumstances in which no advertising at all would be carried out including where a worker:
- was identified through a university milk round;
- was already legally working for the sponsor on another immigration route and the sponsor established they were suitable for the role through their previous performance; and
- made a speculative application and the sponsor was satisfied they had the necessary skills and experience to do the job.
An explanation and, where practicable, evidence must be provided to support these recruitment practices.
Whilst the clarification provided by the guidance is welcome and reassuring, the guidance still appears to mandate how a sponsor should advertise. RLMT-like documentation is still required to be kept on file and it would arguably be easier for a sponsor to rely upon one of the alternative circumstances rather than advertising for the role. It remains to be seen how the Compliance Officers at the Home Office will assess these cases.
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