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Petition Allow ALL vaccinated British Expats to visit the UK without quarantining

There are an estimated 5-6 million British Nationals living abroad as expatriates. Many countries with large British expat populations appear on the red travel list from 17 May. We propose the Government allow all vaccinated British expats to return home quarantine-free to visit their families.

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The Transport Secretary recently outlined the traffic light system for international travel from 17 May, which is silent on British expats living overseas. Many expats live in countries with higher vaccination and lower virus rates than the UK, such as the UAE. Regardless of vaccination status, we face prohibitively lengthy and expensive hotel quarantine if we return home. Many of us have not seen family since before the pandemic and are being prevented from doing so by quarantine restrictions.

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Government responded

This response was given on 18 June 2021

Public health has always been our number one priority and we will not risk throwing away our hard-won achievements which have only been possible through the work of the British people.

We recognise the impact that restrictions and this pandemic have had on many people. We have made enormous progress this past year in tackling the pandemic across Britain. That progress has been hard won and it is important that we do not risk undermining it now. Yet we are also a nation with ties across the globe.

In 2019, UK residents took over 93 million trips abroad, for business, leisure and to visit friends and family. International travel is vital. It connects families who have been kept apart, boosts businesses and underpins the UK economy. It is absolutely essential that any steps we take now, lay the groundwork for a sustainable return to travel.

We have set out a pragmatic approach, protecting public health while also enabling international travel to restart again. Obviously, this is just the first step towards a future travel system. Measures will be formally reviewed on 28 June, 31 July and 1 October to take account of the domestic and international health picture and respond accordingly.

Given that the virus is still spreading in many parts of the world, people should not be travelling to amber and red countries for leisure. 10-day managed hotel quarantine requirements will remain in place for those permitted to return to England from ‘red’ countries, and quarantine at home alongside stringent testing will be required for those returning from ‘amber’ destinations.

Countries have been allocated by ministers according to the latest scientific data, so quarantine and testing requirements on return from those countries are appropriate to the risk of coronavirus and variants of concern.

There are some instances where travellers might be able to get an exemption from needing to quarantine. These exemptions are exceptional and limited, and you will need evidence to support your request.

Vaccination status is considered in the risk assessment, but JBC is looking for the outcome of vaccination programmes, i.e. reduced levels of infection including variants of concern. Countries with high levels of vaccination but sustained high levels of infection would be of concern.

Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you still have to follow the same testing and isolation requirements as non-vaccinated people when you return to the country, as per the traffic light system.

Recognising the strong strategic rationale and success of the vaccine programme, we have commenced work to consider the role of vaccinations in shaping a different set of health and testing measures for inbound travel. We will set out our position in due course.

Department of Health and Social Care

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Other parliamentary business

MPs to debate the aviation, travel and tourism industries

On Thursday 10 June, MPs will debate the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries in the main House of Commons Chamber.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will begin following questions to Ministers and Ministerial statements.

Watch the debate:
https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/2e811f25-7a77-438d-9a60-dbea42b4c6e8

You can also read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it has finished:
https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-10

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work:
https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/

Support for the aviation, travel and tourism industries to be debated by MPs

On Thursday 24 June, MPs will debate support for the aviation, travel and tourism industries in Westminster Hall.

This is a general debate that has been scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee, which gives opportunities to backbench Members of Parliament to bring forward debates of their choice. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues. However they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

Watch the debate (from 3.15pm, Thurs 24 June): https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/73a555bf-9c83-4387-9bbb-30677002d3c4

Read a transcript of the debate (available a few hours after it has finished): https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-24

Government debate on the aviation, travel and tourism industries

This debate follows an earlier debate that the Government scheduled on the aviation, travel and tourism industries. The Government's debate took place in the main House of Commons chamber on Thursday 10 June.

Watch the debate scheduled by the Government: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/2e811f25-7a77-438d-9a60-dbea42b4c6e8?in=14:00:20

Read a transcript of the debate scheduled by the Government: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-10/debates/0922563F-114D-4D63-86F5-707A8DC2B434/AviationTravelAndTourismIndustries

What are Westminster Hall debates?

Westminster Hall is the second Chamber of the House of Commons. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a Government Minister. Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate.

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work:
https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/

MPs question Government on plans for international travel

On Tuesday 29 June, MPs questioned the Government about plans for international travel.

You can watch the questions and the Government's response on Parliament TV: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/bbac374c-b46f-477f-bac9-e0fdbbf9f949?in=13:28:25

You can read the questions and the Government's response on the Hansard website: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-29/debates/65D669AA-8596-45BA-93C7-19E206117C21/InternationalTravel

Why was the Government questioned about plans for international travel?

If an urgent or important matter arises which an MP believes requires an immediate answer from a government minister, they may apply to ask an urgent question.

Jim McMahon MP applied to ask the Government about plans for international travel, and this request was granted by the Speaker.

Find out more about Urgent Questions here:
https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/urgent-questions/

Government statement on self-isolating and testing for international travel

MPs questioned Secretary of State Grant Shapps on international travel following the Minister’s statement on Thursday 8 July.

In his statement he outlined the rules for self-isolating and testing for those who are fully vaccinated.

The Government have announced that from 19 July, UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine roll-out will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England.

They will still be required to take a test three days before returning—the pre-departure test—demonstrating that they are negative before they travel and a PCR test on or before day two, but they will no longer be required to take a day eight test.

Find out more about how this will work:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/quarantine-free-travel-to-resume-on-19-july-for-fully-vaccinated-passengers-returning-from-amber-list-countries

Read the Government statement here:
https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-07-08/debates/BA6E7D0C-D3DB-4AFC-9A23-53248DDB30B2/InternationalTravel

Watch the statement on Parliament Live TV:
https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/32d9e5ac-547c-4dfb-af3e-99b294aeb674?in=11:33:42

What is a ministerial statement?

Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of MPs, often at short notice.

You can find out more about them here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/statements/

Ministers are the MPs and members of the House of Lords who are in the Government.

They are appointed by the Prime Minister and each given a specific area of government policy to oversee, for example education, health and social care, or national defence.

Some senior Ministers are also referred to as Secretaries of State. Ministers speak on behalf of the Government during parliamentary debates and must answer questions put to them by other MPs or members of the House of Lords.

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