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Employment Legislation Update

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New Visa route opens for ‘High Potential Individuals’

On 30 May 2022 the High Potential Individual visa route was opened for graduates studying in the most highly rated overseas universities.

Individuals will not need a job offer or a sponsor to apply. Instead, they will be eligible if they have graduated from a non-UK university on the UK Visas and Immigration global universities list and meet the English language and financial/maintenance requirements.

The visa will last normally for 2 years but can extend to 3 years for those with a PHD.

It is designed to attract graduates regarded as having high potential into the UK job market by removing the need to find a sponsor.

The new visa route will be open to graduates who have been awarded a qualification from an eligible university in the previous 5-year period. They could undertake any job, regardless of skill level or salary, as there are no minimum salary requirements. Whilst it is considerably cheaper than sponsorship there is an application fee of £715.

It should also be taken into account that following the two- or three-year visa period the individual will need to move onto other longer-term visa options to continue their employment.

Sick note rule change

It has been reported that from July pharmacists, registered nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, rather than just GPs, will soon be able to sign people off sick from work.

Plans for the change had first been signalled in October last year when Sajiv Javid announced that he would free up more GP time for appointments by cutting back on their paperwork this would mean the responsibility for writing prescriptions and provide 'fit notes' would be shifted from doctors to others.

The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 will amend the existing legislation to allow these other health professionals to sign the statements.

The changes will apply in England, Wales and Scotland.

So far, no extension of the period in which employees can self-certify has been announced it is still limited to seven days after which a sick note will be required as evidence of incapacity from work.

COVID-19: ONS releases latest statistics on long COVID-19

The ONS has found that, as of 1 May 2022, 2 million people living in private households in the UK were experiencing self-reported long COVID-19 symptoms, considered to be symptoms that continue for more than four weeks. For 1.4 million people (71% of those with self-reported long COVID-19), symptoms adversely affected their day-to-day activities. 398,000 (20%) reported that their ability to go about their day-to-day activities had been "limited a lot". The most common symptom reported to be part of individuals' experience of long COVID-19 continued to be fatigue. This symptom was reported by 55% of people with self-reported long COVID-19, followed by shortness of breath (32%), a cough and muscle ache (23% each).

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