New AU, NZ, UK Visa Application Centre Opens in Singapore

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The border control agencies of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have appointed VFS Global, an outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments, to offer a cohesive visa application facility in Singapore.

As part of their on-going efforts to improve processes, rationalise resources and achieve better value for money, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed an initiative to share visa support services, including the enrolment of biometrics.

The cooperation is aimed not only at providing a convenient and seamless visa application process for these countries, but also jointly tackling visa and identity frauds that has plagued the immigration systems from time to time. By working together under the aegis of the 5CC, the border control agencies will collectively aim to counter some of the common challenges around global migration by sharing best practice and coordinating their response to these challenges. With the maximising of joint efforts to facilitate legal immigration flows, the conference is confident of providing protection to those in genuine need, and to guard against those who would otherwise take advantage of or abuse their immigration systems.

Over the past decade, the border control agencies of the five countries, namely Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) - Australia, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Immigration New Zealand (INZ), UK Border Agency (UKBA) and US Department of State, have conjointly worked on the following areas of co-operation:

Identity Management, including the use of biometrics and other technology to tackle identity fraud
Information sharing
Intelligence and overseas liaison
Returns and repatriation
Intergovernmental migration and refugees
Business development

A spokespersons for Australia and New Zealand said, Shared visa application facilities would lead to improved services for clients of each country and would also achieve greater efficiencies through shared infrastructure and staffing. These services will include extended operating hours with phones open until 5pm weekdays, and internet kiosks with an online application tracking facility so clients can view the status of their applications. Savings achieved this way are ultimately able to be passed on to our clients. All applications will continue to be assessed and decided by immigration staff at both the Australian and New Zealand high commissions. VAC staff will not be involved in decisions or have any knowledge of application outcomes.

Travellers aspiring for visas to these countries can now do so at the VFS Global operated 5CC Visa Application Centre (VAC), located at 20, Cecil Street, #11-02 to 05, Equity Plaza, Singapore 049705.

VFS Global will be responsible for accepting visa applications for Australia, New Zealand and UK visas from applicants residing in Singapore. All applications will continue to be assessed and processed by the DIAC, INZ and UKBA offices respectively.

The key features of the 5CC VAC will be:

- Dedicated counters for applicants and travel agents
- Biometric enrolments (For UK currently)
- Dedicated call centre to answer queries and status of application
- Online appointment system and tracking of application status
- Dedicated websites to provide information on visa categories, fees, application forms, etc.
- SMS alert for visa status update on mobile phones
- Door step delivery of passports

The VAC will remain open from 08:00 to 16:00 from Monday-Friday, keeping in mind the convenience of the applicants.

There is a service fee, payable at the time of application, to use the VAC service.

Visa, Singapore

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