Tier 2 Advertising and Selection

In order to sponsor an individual under Tier 2, we must be able to demonstrate that it has not been possible to find anyone from the ‘Resident Labour Market’.

The Home Office ‘Resident Labour Market Test’ (RLMT) requirements specify where the adverts are placed, for how long and what details of the role are included. Records of the advertising and selection must be kept as evidence. 

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In the cases below, we are exempt from testing the resident labour market: 


  • We are extending the Tier 2 visa of a current employee who is continuing in the same (or a very similar role) with the university or college;
  • An individual holds a Tier 4 (Student) visa, a Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa, or a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa and is switching to a Tier 2 visa within in the UK;
  • the individual is named on an externally funded, non-transferrable research grant or fellowship for a supernumerary research role


The following are also exempt from meeting the advertising and selection requirements but do not arise as often. Please contact the Staff Immigration Team as early as possible if you think one of these might apply:


  • The individual has been selected, based on their own research proposal, for an advertised, third-party funded, supernumerary research role where terms of the funding agreement effectively prohibit any settled worker from undertaking the role (such as an advertised Marie Skłodowska-Curie role);
  • the role appears on the Home Office Shortage Occupation List;
  • they will be continuing to work for a research team which is transferring to the University (but not under a TUPE agreement) and for which they have worked for at least 12 months at the time they apply;
  • The individual is resuming an academic role with the same employer after a break in employment due solely to a 12-month or longer period of academic leave outside the UK.

The advertising requirements aim to ensure that the Resident Labour Market has had every opportunity to view the full details of, and apply for, the role. 


Adverts must be ‘live’ for at least 28 calendar days.  It might take time for the adverts to be published so consider posting adverts for around five weeks to allow for any delays or errors in posting. 


Length of time between adverts and issuing Tier 2 CoS

Research, Professorial/ Lecturing roles                                 

Maximum of 12 months between the date the adverts were first posted and the date the Tier 2 CoS is issued.

All other roles which are eligible for sponsorship under Tier 2        

Maximum of 6 months between the date the adverts were first posted and the date the Tier 2 CoS is issued.


Two periods of advertising in the same location can be combined to meet the 28 day requirement, however, the minimum period is 7 days. For example: If an advert was posted late and was only ‘live’ for 26 days, and you discovered this once the role had closed, the advert would have to be re-advertised for another 7 days.


Want to check the advert dates?

Use the 'Days Between Two Dates' calculator. Please check with SIT if you have any questions


The role must be advertised in two ‘suitable locations’, for at least 28 days in each location.


The websites of:

  • the central University recruitment pages (we cannot rely on department, faculty, college, division, or conference of college websites)
  • professional journals available throughout the UK, published at least monthly
  • newspapers available throughout the UK, published at least weekly
  • prominent professional UK recruitment organisations


The advertising locations most often used are:

Research / Lecturing roles or an annual salary over £73,900

All other roles which are eligible for sponsorship under Tier 2

Normally advertised on the central University recruitment pages, and one other location, such as

  • Jobs.ac.uk
  • Naturejobs.com
  • Times Higher Educational Supplement (THES)

Or in some cases

  • Fish4jobs
  • Monster
  • Indeed
  • Reed.co.uk

Must be advertised on ‘Find a job’ GOV.UK and one other location, such as

  • central University recruitment pages
  • Jobs.ac.uk
  • Naturejobs.com
  • Times Higher Educational Supplement (THES)

Or in some cases

  • Fish4jobs
  • Monster
  • Indeed
  • Reed.co.uk


If other advertising location are being considered check with a Staff Immigration Team to ensure it will meet the criteria before advertising.

Adverts must clearly contain all of the following information:

Job title

The full job title e.g. Postdoctoral Research Assistant in …[XYZ]

Work location

This should be consistent with that listed in the Job Description/ Further Particulars. Both University and college locations should be clearly listed for joint appointments

Salary range including any allowances

For example to include the salary range; £31,604 - £38,833 per annum, (please note that the salary range quoted must include the salary actually paid).  See further information about Quoting salary below.

Duties of the role

A summary of main duties and responsibilities of the job e.g. to design and synthesise probes of enzymes and study the kinetics of enzymes, analyse data, publish results.  It is not enough for just the research topic, or research teams activities to be listed, so ensure this specifically details the main duties the role with undertake.

Qualifications required

The qualifications required for the role, should be clearly stated.  See further information about Listing qualifications below.

Skills & experience required

The skills and experience needed for the role. e.g. thorough working knowledge of organic synthesis, good publication record

Closing date for applications

The closing date for applications


The details should also be  consistent in the Job Description. Where possible try to include a direct link to the Job Description in the advert text so the full details of the role are one ‘click’ away.

Where any of the above points are not clearly included in the adverts they cannot be relied on to evidence that the Tier 2 advertising rules have been met and the role would have to be re-advertised before Tier 2 sponsorship could be provided.


Quoting salary

If a salary was offered which was above, or below, that quoted in adverts the Home Office would argue that the role had not been properly presented to the Resident Labour Market and the adverts could not be relied on for Tier 2 sponsorship. The salary on offer must, therefore, be listed consistently across adverts and the job description for a role. 

Salary can be quoted in one of the following ways (which cannot be used in combination):


Whole salary range including any allowances (if applicable)

Should be used in the majority of cases, with discretionary range included if appropriate for the post type and/or market rates.

Please ensure current University salary scales (found at: www.admin.ox.ac.uk/finance/epp/payroll/scales/) are listed.

‘Salary from …’ listing the bottom of the available range.

Only appropriate where a salary a modest amount over the top of the scale may be offered. Please seek advice from Staff Immigration Team and the Reward Team if you are considering listing a ‘from’ salary figure.

‘Competitive salary’

Only appropriate where the market rate for the post is demonstrably above the University’s salary scale, and where advertising a ‘competitive salary’ would be considered the norm. 

As used only for senior and some joint roles, Division/ Senior Appointment Panel approval is required before an advert is placed quoting ‘competitive salary’. The Home Office do not accept other terminology such as ‘market rate’ or ‘salary negotiable’. Please discuss with SIT any roles where you are considering listing ‘competitive salary’.


Listing qualifications

It is not possible to sponsor someone under Tier 2 who does not hold the ‘qualifications required’ as described in the adverts and job description. In all cases, even those exempt from the Tier 2 Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) advertising requirements, applicants must meet the ‘qualifications required’ listed in the job description to be considered to be suitably qualified to undertake the role.


To ensure consistency and compliance, four clearly defined options are provided below for listing the ‘qualifications required’ for any role, together with the evidence that must be submitted to the Staff Immigration Team with a Tier 2 CoS application in each case.


Qualifications required

Evidence which must be submitted with Tier 2 CoS application 

‘Hold a PhD/ DPhil in…’ 

EITHER a copy of the PhD/ DPhil award certificate; 

OR an academic reference confirming qualification has been awarded. 

PLEASE NOTE: if ‘post qualification experience’ is also listed it will not be possible to sponsor someone who has just finished their PhD/DPhil/doctorate. 

‘Hold, or be close to completion of, a PhD/DPhil in…’ 

EITHER a copy of the PhD/ DPhil award certificate; 

OR an academic reference confirming qualification has been awarded; 

OR an academic reference confirming the thesis has been submitted, if they have not yet completed. 

‘Hold a Bachelor’s Degree (or Master’s) in…’ as essential with ‘Hold a PhD/DPhil in…’ as desirable 

EITHER a copy of the Degree (or Masters) award certificate; 

OR an academic reference confirming Degree (or Masters) has been awarded. 

PLEASE NOTE: this should not be used for Research roles above Grade 6 

‘Hold a PhD/DPhil in…’ with the possibility to underfill if they instead ‘Hold a Bachelor’s Degree (or Master’s) in…’ 


Standard underfill wording: 

Whilst the role is a grade Y (£- £ p.a.) position, we would be willing to consider candidates with potential but less experience who are seeking a development opportunity, for which an initial appointment would be at grade X (£- £ p.a.) with the responsibilities adjusted accordingly. This would be discussed with applicants at interview/appointment where appropriate. 

EITHER a copy of the award certificate; 

OR an academic reference confirming qualification has been awarded. 


Those with the substantive qualification would be appointed on substantive grade. Those with the lower qualification would be appointed one grade lower, with a specific adjustment of duties and development plan setting clear milestones which must be met (including award of a PhD/DPhil, if applicable) before promotion to the substantive grade, normally within one year. 


Changes in job title & salary etc. on promotion to the substantive grade must then be reported to SIT. 


Please refer to Personnel guidance on ‘Underfilling of posts’ for more information: www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/reward/paystructure/

Comment on ‘equivalent experience’ 

If including ‘or equivalent experience’, options of what might be accepted as equivalent should be discussed/ explored when drafting the adverts and job description. 

Where a Tier 2 applicant is seeking to rely on ‘equivalent experience’ in lieu of a qualification, references (normally from their current employer) would be required which specifically detailed the applicant’s research (or other activities) and explained how these are considered equivalent to the qualification in question. 


Research towards an, as yet incomplete, Masters or PhD/DPhil cannot be relied on as equivalent to holding these qualifications. 


Finally print out evidence of adverts and retain these to evidence that the advertising rules have been met.

Take the printout from the website where applicants view and apply for roles. For example we cannot rely on evidence taken from the business account used to post the advert or an input confirmation from jobs.ac.uk or other documents stating that adverts were placed.

Advert printouts must clearly show the:

  • name and logo (if applicable) of the website

  • full content of the advert

  • vacancy reference number (sometimes in the URL)

  • URL of the website (normally in the header or footer)

  • date of printing (normally in the header or footer).  This date is normally used to calculate the 28 day period, unless in the main content of the advert is includes the date of posting

Please carefully check advert printouts, and ask the Staff Immigration Team to check them if you are unsure of the requirements. If anything is missing from advert printouts they cannot be relied on to support a Tier 2 CoS application and the role may need to be re-advertised.





  • Place advert on at least two suitable media ('Find a job' may be mandatory)
  • The adverts contains the 7 pieces of information and the details match the job description
  • Take print out of the live advert and keep this on file. The print out should include the URL, date of printing and the 7 pieces of information
  • Ensure the advert is live for at least 28 days

Shortlisted applicants must be interviewed and assessed based on the skills and experience detailed in the advert and job description. New criteria should therefore not be introduced part way through the recruitment process.

When recruiting for a researcher or lecturer position, departments or colleges are permitted to appoint the most suited candidate.

For non-researcher or lecturer positions, a settled worker must be appointed if they meet all of the mandatory skills and experience. This is even if an individual who requires a Tier 2 visa better meets the criteria. 

Retain evidence of the selection decision

The Home Office requires that evidence of the selection process is retained for the duration of the employment and for a further six months after the Tier 2 sponsorship ends.

Departments and colleges must therefore retain all interview notes taken during the final interviews along with the following document which will also need to be included with the Tier 2 Initial CoS application form submitted to SIT:

  • Copies of all applications shortlisted for final interview in the medium in which they were received (e.g. emails, application form, cv)
  • A completed recruitment decision summary of evidence form, which needs to provide a summary of the selection panel’s assessment of each candidate based on how they performed against the selection criteria
  • If only one candidate is shortlisted a completed shortlisting grid will additionally need to be included.

If the successful applicant is a non UK, EEA or EU national the following should be considered before requesting sponsorship.


Individual holds a Tier 2 visa:


  • Sponsored by Oxford: Please send a copy of the job description to the Staff Immigration Advisor to consider the new role against the individual’s current appointment and sponsorship. 


If the new appointment falls within the same occupation for which they are currently sponsored it is likely that the Staff Immigration Advisor will just need to report to the Home Office changes to their employment. 


If the new appointment however falls within a different occupation a new Tier 2 visa will have to be obtained. For example the individual holds a postdoctoral position and will be moving to a departmental lecturer. This is called a Change of Employment application and a request for sponsorship and visa application (Stage 2)  will need to be obtained before they can commence the new role.


  • Individual sponsored by external organisation a Change of Employment application is required, and a request of sponsorship (Stage 2) will need to be progressed.

Individual holds a Tier 4 Student visa:

International students that have been sponsored under the Tier 4 (Student) visa to study in the UK on a course at undergraduate level or above may be permitted to switch into Tier 2 to undertake their first full time employed role.  Full details can be found on the Tier 4 Student Switching page


Individual holds a Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa:

PhD/DPhil students who are nearing completion of their studies and hold a Tier 4 student visa can apply for a 12 month extension of their visa under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES).  Tier 4 DES visa allows the individual to work full time once they have completed their studies.

If the appointment is going to be shorter than 12 months, the Tier 4 DES route may be better than progressing Tier 2 sponsorship. Further guidance can be found on Student Immigration team website. Students from other universities will need to seek advice from their university.


Individual holds a UK visa which permits work:

An individual may hold a visa which permits them to work without any restrictions for a limited period of time. For example an individual holding a dependant visa, UK Ancestry or Tier 5 Youth Mobility.  The Other Work Visa page provides details on different immigration categories which permit work. 

The visa will have an expiry date, and this should be taken into account when issuing the Contract of Employment.

If you are not sure that the particular visa presented permits the individual to take up the role please contact SIT for support.

Contact us

Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education / Colleges

Angelina Pelova Tel: 01865 289904 Email: angelina.pelova@admin.ox.ac.uk 

James Galloway Tel: 01865 289927 Email: james.galloway@admin.ox.ac.uk


MPLS / Social Sciences

Nina Song Tel: 01865 289926 Email: nina.song@admin.ox.ac.uk

Solveig Alsaker Tel: 01865 289912 Email: solveig.alsaker@admin.ox.ac.uk




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