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Indian mission in UK probes illegal visa handlers


LONDON: The High Commission of India says it is investigating reports of unauthorized agents charging unauthorized fees to process visas for tourists to India, amid reports of illegal activity. There is a severe shortage of visas that British tourists come to the country.
While British travelers who have booked tickets to fly to India in the coming weeks complain about the lack of visa slots for timely visa processing, the India mission on Friday warned travelers customers about scams and emphasize that they are working to streamline processes. .
It also refutes claims in the UK media that there has been an abrupt visa rule change that has affected British tourists and reiterates that individual visa applicants always are expected to apply in person at the outsourced VFS Global centers in London.
“We are aware that unauthorized agents and individuals are collecting illegal fees and charges Indian Visa applications are filed at VFS Centers, misleading applicants and misrepresenting the services they can lawfully provide,” the High Commission statement said.
“It is emphasized that this matter is currently under investigation. The High Commission of India emphasized that M/s VFS Global Services is the only Authorized Outsourcing Service Provider for India related passport/visa/ and consular services in UK.
According to the established process, individual visa applicants are always required to apply for a visa in person at the VFS Centers… It should be reiterated that there has been NO change in the visa application process. for each visa applicant,” the statement read.
“The High Commission of India assures our friends in the UK that they are still working hard to improve visa services by streamlining visa processes and resolving any issues. delays and shortages in service,” it added.
The UK is no longer among the more than 150 countries that can access the online tourist e-visa option when traveling to India, which has caused significant stress for tourists, who are waiting for a long time at VFS centers to be processed.
According to consular officials, the difficulty in available processing dates is due to travel agents blocking booking appointments and making it harder for individual applicants to get visa appointments.
The issue was one of the priorities for the new High Commissioner, Vikram Doraiswami, who visited a visa application center in west London “to listen to applicants’ issues, in particular delay in making a service appointment” immediately after taking the assignment.
The visa backlog drags on high demand amid the COVID pandemic lockdown, with many travelers trying to make up for canceled or delayed trips to India.

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