The UK’s abrupt inclusion of India into the travel red list has sent shock waves to thousands of Indian students studying in the UK and who are stranded in India about what this means for them.
India was added to the red list on Friday at 4:00 am, which meant that they were required to quarantine on arrival for ten days. A quarantine cost of £1,750 was also expected to be paid to hotels where the students would be quarantined.
Indian Students stranded
However, many students who were caught up in the predicament complained that the cost of isolating was too high and they could not afford it. Although the UK government indicated that it would be possible for the Indian students to come back, it was the cost that posed the biggest hindrance for their travel back to the UK for in-person learning.
According to the new rules, only British and Irish citizens and people with residency rights would be allowed in the country, and even then, they would still be required to isolate in a hotel for 10 days as a measure to curb the spread of covid.
According to Inews, There were plans by the department of health and Social care to ramp up hotel capacity across the country to accommodate students returning from India. The plan also included contingencies in case more countries were added to the red list and they needed to expand accommodation. If more countries are added to the red list and quarantine hotels run out, a fallback plan to set up quarantine facilities is in place to ensure that everyone coming into the UK quarantines.
Sanam Arora, from the National Indian Students Union UK, indicated that she estimated the number of students who study in the UK and are stranded in India to be in thousands. She continued by saying that these students studied their first and second semester remotely, but are expected to return for in-person learning on their final semester, something she indicated was causing panic to students, especially due to the high cost of travel and accommodation.
According to data, it is estimated that approximately 14,000 students, out of 55,00 Indian students who study in the UK, are stranded in India.
There is also a growing worry among these students about post-study work visas, which students are supposed to apply for before the 21st of June. However, with thousands of students still stranded in India, there is a very high likelihood that they will miss the opportunity because applications can only be done in the UK.