After several weeks of challenging times, Indian students planning to go to the United Kingdom have got some relief. The UK government has announced that it will move India from its ‘red travel list’ to the ‘amber list’ from Aug. 8.
The easing of these travel restrictions could mean lesser quarantine costs for Indian students entering the country. Indians reaching the UK can now quarantine in their place of stay or at home for 10 days. There are close to 20,000 Indian students currently enrolled in British universities and several more waiting to join campuses for the first time this year.
Travellers are required to take a COVID-19 test in the three days before they travel to the U.K. On arrival to the country, those fully vaccinated must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2.
Indian students can now look forward to studying in the campuses, provided their institutions have complied with the necessary COVID-19 protocols and rules and are open to welcoming back international students.
If students have not travelled to or crossed a red list country 10 days before arriving in the UK, and have been living in an amber list country, they can travel to the UK if they follow the quarantine, vaccination, and other specified rules.
Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain are also going to be moved from the red to the amber list when the COVID-19 scenario in these nations has improved. However, the data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will take action when a country’s epidemiological picture changes, says a UK government statement.
Student groups had been advocating for ease in travel restrictions and other measures such as the lowering of quarantine costs for Indians wanting to join universities in the UK. Sanam Arora, founder and chairperson of the National Indian Students Association, the UK’s oldest and largest Indian student and alumni network, welcomed the move. “Students and travellers no longer need to pay £1750,” she said in a tweet.
Adar Poonawalla, chief of the Serum Institute of India (the manufacturer of the Covishield vaccine in India), has declared monetary assistance of ₹10 crore to Indian students going to the UK.
Poonawalla said that though India has been moved to the amber list, Indian students will still need to quarantine and thus bear substantial costs.
Starting February, those who reach the UK from a red list country have been asked to mandatorily reserve their stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
As per the guidelines, if one is visiting from an amber list country and is not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine, he/she needs to quarantine on arrival at home or in their place of stay. They need to take COVID-19 test after arrival – on or before day 2 and one on or after day 8.