I have been working closely with my counterparts across Government, including in the Department of Health and Social Care, about how covid-19 policies affect international and domestic students. Immigration concessions allow for the ongoing provision of online learning this academic year, meaning that international students can study remotely from the UK or in their home country. Universities have informed us that a sizeable number have stayed in the UK throughout.
International students are hugely important to our universities. With India added to the red list, there is real concern that the cost of hotel quarantine will be a deal breaker for some. Can the Minister tell us whether universities will be allowed to manage the quarantine system for themselves, which they are well qualified to do, and how soon could that be resolved? If not, who or what is the obstacle?
International students, including those from India, are indeed a vital and valued part of our higher education sector and communities. The UK was one of the first countries to introduce important visa concessions for international students at the very start of the pandemic. That has been flexible throughout, including extending the deadline for eligibility for the graduate route to 21 June. We continue to work with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that the UK remains as accessible and welcoming as possible. International students are also eligible for the additional £85 million that we have given universities for support with hardship.