Scores of complaints against VFS in other countries as well

DailySun || Shining BD

Published: 5/22/2024 4:21:43 AM

VFS Global, a visa service provider for many countries, including the UK, Sri Lanka and Nigeria, has been accused of fraud, forgery and exorbitant service charges.

In India itself, there are serious allegations of fraud against the company’s employees. The news of the company’s fraud has appeared many times in the media of those countries.

It is reported that in early May 2018, Nigerian investigative journalist Theophilus Abbah applied for a South African visa through VFS. The South African embassy issued the visa to him but while checking the VFS voucher, the journalist found that the company charged more than the designated cost. At that time, the South African visa fee was 8,600 Naira (Nigerian currency), but VFS Global Service charged him 25,270 Naira for providing the service.

Abbah considered the extra service charge through cheating. Later, on 14 May of the same year, Nigerian newspaper the Premium Times published an investigative report on VFS’ irregularities.

VFS has also been accused of taking extra money by renewing visa processing work with the UK Home Office through a shadow office. Apart from this, the company was blamed for taking excessive money with low-quality services.

There were allegations against VFS employees of providing wrong information, behaving like government employees and forcing clients to take premium services. The Diplomat published a news report regarding this on 13 July 2020.

Colin Yeo, an immigration barrister at the UK’s Garden Court Chambers and author of the book Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System on the British immigration system, told The Diplomat, “People who apply for UK visas go through VFS and they have a monopoly in the countries where they serve. There are enough complaints about the quality of their service.”

Apart from this, VFS Global got involved in the controversy about the issuance of Sri Lankan visas.

Later, the company evaded the liability by issuing a statement. Besides, it is alleged that some employees of the organisation were involved in irregularities while processing the visa application for Thailand in Bangladesh. Finally, VFS Global has been barred.

Meanwhile, there are allegations against VFS Global in India too. Although the head offices of the company are in Switzerland and the UAE, VFS Global is mainly owned by Indian entrepreneurs.

In July last year, VFS staff resorted to serious fraudulence while processing Canadian visas. Fingerprints of 28 Indian citizens were taken by forging documents and without informing the Canadian authorities. The cheating was later caught by Canadian immigration authorities and notified to VFS by e-mail.

After that, the manager of the company, Bomesh Thakur, complained to the Crime Branch of India. Given this, the Indian police arrested two VFS employees and a former employee for their involvement in the fraudulence.

Mehul Bharwad, a former employee of VFS Global, and two employees Sohil Diwan and Melvin Christie, along with some travel agents, cheated clients by showing a thumb to the appropriate procedure to register an applicant in the system. They fraudulently enrolled the biometrics of 28 applicants and issued them fake visa appointment letters. According to the Indian police, the VFS operatives took around ₹5,000 to ₹7,000 from each person for this cheating.

Shining BD