Thursday, March 28, 2013

Is VFS Exploiting Nigerians?

VFS is acronym for VF Global Services Nigeria Ltd, the local visa processing agent for most embassies here in Nigeria. VFS services the British, US, Canadian, French, Netherlands, Italian and South African embassies here in Nigeria and perhaps even more.

They are the middle man between the visa applicant and the embassy. Daily applications for each of these embassies are about 100 on the average. So it suffices to say VFS processes about 700 applications daily for which VFS are paid a fixed sum for every application.

 
You might wonder where this is going but I have however noticed a trend with my last three visa applications which have prompted this post.

 In September 2012, I applied for a French visa and total fee was N17,835 of which N11,810 was the visa fee, N400 for SMS notifications and the balance N5,625 being VFS processing charges. The SMS' are intended to notify applicants of the status of their applications and inform when applicant’s visa is ready or otherwise. SMS rate as at that time was N5 per SMS but I did not receive a single SMS. I had to keep tracking my application via the VFS Nigeria website until it was ready.

In January 2013, I applied for a South African visa, again costs where similar but I cannot find the payment slips to give exact details.

I have also just renewed my UK visa and have once again been charged N400 for SMS notifications.

For my UK visa renewal which is very fresh in my memory. I received a total of four emails, and NOT a single SMS. By the way, SMS now cost N4 each which means cost to VFS would ideally be N16 whilst I was charged N400 and didn’t receive any notification.

If you do the maths, applying this to only UK visa applications alone, here’s what it adds up to:

100 applications/day x N400 x 5days x 4weeks = N800,000/month

If you apply that to 7 embassies, it implies N5.6million/month or N67.2million additional revenue/year for VFS Global Nigeria.

This is excluding the N5,000+ fees VFS receives per application.

Even if they spent N16 per applicant, VFS would still make N768,000/month.
 
Isn’t VFS exploiting Nigerians? Who regulates such organisations? Where’s the Consumer Protection Council in all of these? Isn’t this exploitation  tantamount to corruption?

 

2 comments:

  1. I can relate to ur plight which is similar to mine and most nigerians after experiecig it once I no longer. Subcribe to their sms service after all it is voluntary payment. I tell anyone I know going to the vfs not to bother with the sms as you can track from the comfort of ur room cos if u are waitoing for consumer protection or servicom or the like u may just wait for ever. So spread the news

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  2. I didn't realise that the SMS is voluntary because they calculate all the fees and just ask you to pay Nx before proceeding to submit the application.

    I will take note and request for the fees excluding SMS cost going forward. Thanks.

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