YANGON, 19 June 2015: The British embassy in Yangon has outsourced the handling of visa applications to an Indian firm VFS Global, which also handles visa applications for British embassies in other Southeast Asian nations.
Myanmar Business Today quoted a British Embassy statement, that a new visa application centre opened, 15 June, under VFS Global, which will handle all applications from Myanmar citizens for visas to the UK.
The British Embassy has stopped handling all visa applications and having out-sourced the service to an international company the move should allow it to downsize its consulate.
The new visa application centre is located on Shwe Dagon Pagoda road in Dagon township. It will open 0830 to 1530, Monday to Friday for applications and 0830 to 1630 for the collection of documents, the report said.
There will be no changes to the visa process for applicants, who will continue to apply for their visa and book their visa appointment via the visa4uk website. However, there will be an extra charge to use this user-pay VAC, which is USD92 on top of the cost of the visa, it said.
Both the visa fee and the user-pay VAC charge will need to be paid in US Dollars when the applicant submits their application at the VAC. Usually British embassies charge for all services in UK pounds.
VFS Global processes the visa application, which is then processed online by British authorities, but there is no direct contact between the visa applicant and embassy staff.
British Ambassador to Myanmar, Andrew Patrick, was quoted saying: “This new visa application centre will make it more convenient for Burmese applicants to apply for their UK visa.”
The convenience factor is questionable as the VFS Global service is the subject of numerous complaints from both visa applicants and British citizens applying for a visa for a dependent.
British embassies are using VFS Global, worldwide, to cut the visa service costs for embassies.