To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the cost of quarantine for international students returning from covid-19 red countries.
17 May 2021
I speak regularly with my counterparts across government about how various COVID-19 policies may affect students with a view to minimising burdens for students while maintaining public health, and I have remained in close contact with Department for Health and Social Care ministers responsible for the Managed Quarantine Service.
Hotel quarantine is in place to prevent the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 variants in the UK, and there is a need to have strict rules in place to prevent the vaccine effort from being undermined.
The costs of quarantine are borne by the traveller – these costs are the same for any individual arriving in the UK from, or via a red list country.
However, we have worked closely with the sector and colleagues across government to ensure that UK residents, including international students due to their visa status, that are facing significant financial hardship will have the opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking their managed quarantine hotel room. Travellers who access hardship will be referred to a government debt collection agency (“Qualco”), who will perform an independent financial assessment and determine an appropriate payment plan.
Any student who is experiencing financial hardship can speak with their provider about support. We have made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers in the 2020/21 academic year. This is in addition to the £256 million of government funded student premium funding already available to higher education providers to draw on for this academic year, 2020/21, and this support can include help for students, including international students and postgraduates. International students can be confident in expressing these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.