The travel visa cash cow

One of the professional highlights of 2020: an investigation I wrote based on whistleblower testimony and other exclusive information, exposing how VFS, the company hired by the British government to process all of the visa applications from people coming into the U.K., has placed itself in a brazen conflict of interest.

Not content with the bilions in revenue it was already turning over on behalf of governments worldwide, VFS opened a spinoff company called VDash, which for an extra fee offered to do exactly what VFS was supposed to do, but better. This is an obvious incentive for VFS to do a poor job in order to stter more clients to Vdash.

The problem is made worse by the fact that the performance of VFS is already far from satisfactory, according to people who have used it. Nightmare tales abound — overcharging, lost passports, missed deadlines and lives turned upside down as a result of the incompetence of this company. Because it is the sole provider of visa services to the U.K. (and many other goverments worldwide) VFS has a monopoly on this activity, and even if some people were able and willing to pay to go through Vdash, VFS woud still be the ultimate gatekeeper of their paperwork.

When approached with the evidence last summer, the Home Office did not have much to comment, although experts said that the contract VFS signed should prohibit Vdash from operating the way it is advertised.

Read the full story on UK visa firm accused of government contract breach over sister company; VFS Global is the market leader in handling visa applications for governments, and operates on behalf of 64 countries.

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