Outsourcing is a buzzword often heard in many industries but consular services is increasingly among them, as odd as that might seem at first glance.
In fact, recent changes by Dutch authorities means that visa applicants based in Australia or New Zealand will have to apply through VFS Global offices rather than through the Netherlands’ embassy in a move that is targeted at making the process more cost-efficient. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen but there is little doubt that the Netherlands is joining a growing list of countries that are looking for modern solutions to older processes.
The goal is to make things easier for the traveler, more secure for the destination country, and more cost-efficient for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Authorities from the Netherlands announced the changes on their travel website netherlandsandyou.nl.
VFS Global will also handle visa applications for other areas such as Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.
In mainland Australia, VFS Global began accepting visa applications on December 5 in Sydney, December 10 in Melbourne, and the eighteenth in the city of Perth.
In New Zealand, VFS Global offices will be opening in Auckland on December 13, 2019.
The process through VFS Global is a comprehensive one and all necessary requirements for a visa – such as the application and the interview itself – can be completed through their offices. Interviews can even be completed online for the traveler’s convenience.
Visa Facilitation Services Global or VFS Global works with a variety of countries across the globe to help them find efficient solutions to consular services such as visa applications. Their main areas of focus include moving the process to an online, electronic format as well as speeding up the general flow of the visa application process.
As more and more countries across the world turn to online systems, VFS Global provides a necessary bridge between the traditional operations of an embassy and the more modern processes allowed by these innovations.
The goal according to Dutch officials is to move more and more processes online and to keep physical paperwork to a minimum.
This is not only a cost-savings measures but also environmentally friendly and a convenience to the traveler. VFS Global also promises to work more closely with visa applicants to insure everything is handled appropriately and should be able to offer a more robust level of service than might be experienced at consular services. Dutch authorities posted the following to their website to explain the change, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperates with external service providers to open up more front desks in locations closer to its customers, in order to reduce the travel burden. It is also keen to digitize the application process wherever possible.”