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

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

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

  • A Resident Labour Market Text has been carried out (unless exempt)
  • The job has been advertised in line with the relevant UKVI code of practice and is on the Tier 2 graduate level jobs list
  • The job meets the appropriate skill level (NQF level 6), the minimum applicable salary requirements and any specific criteria detailed in the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC code)
  • The non EEA national scores a total of 70 points across the different assessment criteria

Please view the following guidance for further information and speak to your local HR representative for specific advice.

Recruiters' guidance

Resident Labour Market Test

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

In order 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 issued, or twelve months where advertising for designated PhD level jobs
    • 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
    • in Jobcentre Plus plus at least one other method permitted by the relevant code of practice.  The only jobs that do not need to be advertised in Jobcentre Plus are:
      • jobs for named researchers; where the peer reviewed funding agreement can be used as evidence of the RLMT
      • 'milkround' graduate recruitment exercises
      • jobs paid at or above £73,900 but below £159,600 and designated PhD level jobs. N.B. these jobs still have to be advertised in a total of two appropriate medium (the College's employment site is a permitted medium)
      • jobs that are exempt from completing an RLMT
    • Adverts must also include the specific information outlined in the College’s Advert template
Evidence of a RLMT:

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

  •  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 EEA national was rejected at final interview. Our Interview assessment form form should be used.
Exemptions from a RLMT:
  • The job is on the 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 received final results confirming that they have passed and will be (or have been) awarded a UK recognised bachelor or postgraduate degree, a UK Postgraduate Certificate in Education or they have 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

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, unless on the Shortage Occupation List, a job must meet:

  • the appropriate skill level (NQF 6)
  • the minimum new entrant/experience worker salary rate
  • 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 UK national can fill the job (unless the job is exempt).  The only exception to this is for designated PhD level jobs where, recruiters are able to select the best candidate for the job rather than the most suitably skilled UK national.

Designated PhD level jobs include all jobs in the following SOC codes:
SOCJob title
 2111   Chemical Scientists
 2112  Biological Scientists and Biochemists
 2113  Physical Scientists
 2114  Social and Humanities Scientists
 2119  Natural and Social Science Professionals not elsewhere classified
 2150  Research and Development Managers
2311  Higher Education Teaching Professionals
Summary of the table's contents




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.  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
  • Croatian nationals
  • High earners (both in and out of country

NB: The only 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.

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 with an annual salary under £155,300.
  • Tier 4 dependants switching into Tier 2 in their own right (both in and out of country)

Employing Croatian nationals

The Points Based System normally only applies to non EEA nationals. However Croatian nationals, although EEA citizens and able to move and reside freely in the UK with no required permission to enter,  do require authorisation to work before they start employment with the College, unless they are exempt. 

Work authorisation normally takes the form of a Certificate of Sponsorship (see section on Certificate of Sponsorships above) plus an Accession Worker Registration Certificate, which they will need to apply for.