NUS Scotland calls for students to be exempt from £1,750 quarantine charge

A call has been made for students arriving in Scotland from abroad to be exempt from the £1,750 charge for quarantining in a hotel under the latest Covid regulations.
Students arriving in Scotland from overseas will have to spend ten days  quarantine   Pic: Ian RutherfordStudents arriving in Scotland from overseas will have to spend ten days  quarantine   Pic: Ian Rutherford
Students arriving in Scotland from overseas will have to spend ten days quarantine Pic: Ian Rutherford

NUS Scotland has written to the Scottish Government’s Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead arguing that most students are not able suddenly to find such a large sum to pay for the compulsory ten-day hotel stay.

Matt Crilly, NUS Scotland president, said: “We support the quarantining of new international arrivals – it’s clearly a very important public health measure to keep out the new variants we are seeing across the world. The issue we have is just the cost of £1,750.

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"We have students who may need to travel to Scotland in the coming months for education or some international students have left their belongings in Scotland and may need to travel back to access those and take them back.

"I was speaking to a student who is in America right now and has booked her flight back in a couple of weeks and now has absolutely no idea what she’s going to do because £,750 s a lot of money. If you’re a big bucks busines executive you might have a couple of thousand pounds in your bank account to pay off the quarantine charge but a lot of students simply don’t have that kind of money sitting in their bank account.”

He said there were also Scottish students on courses elsewhere in the world and may need to come home.

Mr Crilly said the request for a student exemption from the charge was reasonable and suggested agreement would probably have to be reached for all four nations of the UK.

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He said: “We support the fact people have to quarantine upon arrival but we’re just really worried about this cost. This will likely have to be a conversation that takes place across the entirety of the UK because many students will arrive via airports like Heathrow, so hopefully this is a conversation we will be having across the UK, but we are trying to speak to the Scottish Government to see if we can get help.”

At her daily Covid briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said there would be a welfare fund to help anyone who was in genuine need and could not afford the payment.

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