‘The situation is grim’: Indian students face £1.5k bill if they want to return to UK unis

A devastating wave of coronavirus is sweeping India


Thousands of Indian international students have been left stranded in their home country unable to return to their respective UK universities due to the high price of quarantine hotels.

It’s thought there are around 55,000 Indian students studying in the UK, with 14,000 currently unable to get into the country.

A devastating wave of coronavirus is currently sweeping through India, with 379,257 new cases recorded yesterday and the total death toll passing 200,000 on Wednesday.

Last Friday, the UK Government announced India was to be placed on the travel red list meaning that only British/Irish citizens or those with residency rights can enter the country.

People entering the country from India must quarantine in specific hotels and will have to foot the £1,750 bill themselves.

For Indian international students like Harsha, a postgraduate at Imperial, the cost of the isolation period is completely unaffordable.

Harsha applied for a visa to come back to the UK and take his summer exams, but decided to withdraw his application and stay in India when he found out the price of the quarantine hotels.

“I would be stuck due to the new mutation, and would have to pay for the whole time I am there, which would be costly,” Harsha told The Tab. “But also it’s scary to stay in a foreign country for 15 days in a hotel room without access to the city around for any emergency help.”

Harsha is currently living with his family in Hyderabad, India, working full-time to fund his education while also trying to revise for his upcoming exams.

He says that Imperial have supported him as much as they could, but his contact hours can stretch until midnight. “The situation is grim,” he says.

Exeter Uni student Ashik also can’t afford the hotel quarantine cost and is currently staying with his family in Bengaluru, India.

He’s frustrated with the lack of support he’s received from his university and the government. “Nothing has been done and it has caused a big financial hole.” Ashik told The Tab.

A Department of Education spokesperson told i: “International students, including the large number of Indian students who study here, are a vital and valued part of our higher education sector.

“Students on the red list are still able to enter the UK, but are required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel on arrival. Those unable to travel will continue to receive online tuition and specific Graduate route visa concessions will ensure students benefit from our post-study work offer, even if their arrival to the UK is delayed.”

Featured Image: Credit: DH Singh / Shutterstock

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