Thursday, December 31, 2020

Indian students in UK request Indian govt to consider emergency travel options during lockdown

Indian student groups in the UK on Wednesday urged the Indian government to consider emergency travel options in extremely exceptional cases during the current suspension of air travel imposed to try and block out a fast-spreading mutant strain of coronavirus detected in Britain. As the Union Civil Aviation ministry announced that the suspension will be extended by another week until January 7, the groups sought some emergency intervention after being contacted by individuals desperate to get to India due to a family crisis or bereavement.

"I hope this time emergency travel arrangements can be made for Indian travellers with a family member critically ill or just passed away. I've seen first-hand the plight of those unable to travel due to bans – another just last week," said Sanam Arora, Chair of the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK (NISAU-UK), a representative group for Indian students in the UK. "I'm in desperate need of help for flying to India from the UK. My mom is very critical and it is imperative for me to (be) able to fly to Bangalore," said Netal, one of those affected, in a Twitter plea to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and other senior Indian ministers.

"Urging MEA India to please help!!! There have to (be) exceptions to the rule," she said. NISAU-UK has also issued an advisory for Indian students hoping to start an academic term in the New Year and confirmed that under UK Home Office rules, their applicability for the new Graduate or post-study work visa will not be impacted adversely.

"If students are required to either continue their current studies or commence a new course by distance or blended learning due to COVID-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if they spent some time studying outside the UK," the advisory notes. "Students who are completing their course in summer 2021, including those who commenced a one-year Masters programme in September 2020, will benefit from this concession if they enter the UK on or before April 6, 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK," it adds.

31/12/20 Edex Live

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