Hotel quarantine update


26 August 2021

Updates on human rights, concessions for boarding school pupils and cost increases relating to hotel quarantine are covered below.

Hotel quarantine – cost increase

On 12 August 2021, the cost of quarantine in a UK Government managed facility, for those arriving from red-list countries, rose from £1,750 to £2,285 for one adult and additional accompanying adults will be charged £1,430 (up from £650). A price rise of 30% and 120% respectively.

Hotel quarantine – concession for boarding school pupils

International students arriving in the UK from red-list countries for the new academic school year will be permitted to complete their quarantine period at their boarding school instead of going into a Government managed hotel quarantine facility.

If there is no facility at the boarding school or they are staying in family/foster arrangements, a visitor visa may be considered to one parent/guardian to accompany the child to the UK to undergo managed quarantine together.

Hotel quarantine – a breach of human rights?

Currently all UK and Irish citizens and residents returning home to England from any of the selected red-list countries are required to quarantine for 11 nights, under supervision, in a government assigned hotel. Quarantine is required regardless of whether individuals are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 or whether they have tested positive for COVID-19.

The total cost is now £2,285 per adult.

There is little discretion for people travelling for compassionate or emergency reasons and there is currently no way to pay a reduced fee, even if people cannot afford it. The only exemption to upfront payment is a ‘deferred payment plan’, reserved for people facing emergency financial hardship. Nevertheless this is something that is currently being reviewed by Government, with a policy review underway that may include introductions of fee waivers or cost reductions for those in financial hardship. The outcome of this review is still pending.

Now a London-based law firm is seeking a judicial review into the quarantine hotel policy on the basis that it is an unlawful deprivation of liberty and breach of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The review focuses on these core issues:

  1. mandatory hotel quarantine isn’t proportionate or necessary – concession is being sought for fully vaccinated travellers
  2. it is arbitrary to impose quarantine on a person – those that are fully vaccinated and test negative pose a lower risk to public health and therefore a less restrictive interference on liberty (e.g. to quarantine at home) would be more appropriate
  3. quarantine is imposed for longer than necessary – it is argued that restrictions beyond five days are unjustified.

This is the second judicial review brought by the law firm - the first phase judicial review led to the Government introducing payment plans for those in financial hardship. This second judicial review could lead to the Government paying out compensation/refunds to those that have already been through the hotel quarantine process. The Court’s decision is awaited.

This article is from the August 2021 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact a member of Birketts' Immigration Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at August 2021.

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