The travel rules came after India saw an “extremely rapid rise in cases” in the new variant detected throughout April. Over the last week, local rates have almost doubled, increasing to 111 cases detected per 100,000 per week.

“It has a huge financial implication because now I’m required to quarantine in a hotel”

Now, anybody entering England from India will have to stay in a government-approved quarantine facility for 10 days– something that students have said they will find difficult to afford. 

“It has a huge financial implication because now I’m required to quarantine in a hotel,” said Ameesha Vora, a masters student at the University of Leeds

“So the implications of doing my course have added up. First it was international fees, then the accommodation in Leeds that I’m still paying for because of the contract. 

“And now if I’m required to travel back, I need to stay in government accommodation, which I think is about seventeen hundred pounds, which is a huge amount for me,” Vora added. 

Vora said that she had tried applying for emergency hardship funds from her university

They were really small amounts… Like I would get two hundred pounds just maybe for groceries… It won’t pay for the hotel quarantine,” she said. 

Vora explained that she had to return to England by June to be eligible for the UK’s new post-study work rights scheme and so is now trying to borrow money from her family and friends to meet the costs. 

Confusion around rules

Some students have expressed confusion about whether they will actually be allowed into the country. 

In a statement the Department for Transport said that from 4am on Friday 23 April, international visitors who have departed from or transited through India in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. 

“Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights in the UK (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and they must stay in a government-approved quarantine facility for 10 days.”

Indian students coming to the UK are required to have a Biometric Residence Permit– a document which according to the government’s website proves the holders right to live in the UK. 

This means that they should, in theory, be able to enter the country so long as they can follow quarantine requirements. 

However, the DfT could not confirm to The PIE News whether international students would be allowed to enter the UK, saying it was a matter for The Home Office. The PIE tried contacting the Home Office but was unable to get through to them by the time of publication. 

May intake

“It is most likely to impact students coming for the May intake”

NISAU founder and chairperson, Sanam Arora, explained to The PIE that Indian students who are getting ready to come to the UK for the May intake are likely to face problems as a result of the new rules. 

“Whilst it’s not great from the point of view of the already restricted mobility we fully appreciate and understand why the step has needed to be taken. 

“Depending on how long this redirection is in place for it is most likely to impact students coming for the May intake who would’ve been hoping to be able to enjoy some of the overarching easing out of restrictions in the UK as they commence their studies.” 

Arora said that at this point she was most concerned about the situation in India with Covid-19. 

“I am sure the student community will join me in supporting our governments with the required steps despite the difficulties it may cause to us in the short term,” she added.

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