Since the start of the travel restrictions put in place globally as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been contacted by a large number of constituents concerned about family members and friends who are stuck overseas.
I know the Foreign Office is working hard to assist in the face of unprecedented travel restrictions. I was pleased to see the Foreign & Commonwealth Office announce a new government partnership with airlines to fly back more tourists stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Government is providing £75 million in financial support to help charter flights for stranded British citizens back to the UK, and will provide loans to help constituents return on commercial flights.
You can see the support being offered to those stuck overseas here:
However, I understand that the situation for those stuck in Pakistan has deteriorated.
The Government were relying on Pakistan International Airline (PIA) to operate flights from Pakistan to the UK, but there have been alarming reports of price gouging and last-minute cancelations preventing many from returning home. While I know the FCO is working hard with its opposite numbers in the Government of Pakistan, I believe more needs to be done to support British Citizens overseas.
I have therefore today written to the Foreign Secretary, asking him to review the policy of relying on PIA to repatriate British Citizens and to clarify the current criteria and ceiling for loans offered to those overseas.
If you, or someone you know is stuck overseas, the best advice is to get in touch with the nearest British Embassy, High Commission, or Consular Service. They will provide regular updates via their websites and social media channels. You can find the nearest British representative here:
You should also contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport, insurance and accommodation providers to see how they can assist.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has now set up a system for MPs to raise individual constituent cases abroad. At this time, I do not know exactly what the FCO will be able to do for individuals but am happy to pass on the details of any constituents in need of assistance. Please send email to email@example.com.