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UK visa application service changes in Australia

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UK visa application service changes in Australia

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During March, the UK visa service in Australia will change with the opening of new Visa Application Centres (VACs) in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.

The move follows the outsourcing of the UK visa service in Australia to VFS Global. VFS Global already successfully delivers UK visa services across most countries in the Asia Pacific.

These changes only affect the application process; there are no changes to the visa rules and the assessment process will continue to occur at the UK Visas and Immigration hub in Manila.

The large majority of Australian visitors to the UK travel without a visa, so will be unaffected by these changes. In 2013 there were over 1 million visits by Australians to the UK, and around 19,000 visas were issued.

The new VACs will offer:

  • a more personalised service: customers will now be able to submit and collect documents from the VACs and staff will be on hand to answer basic questions
  • a new 3 5 day priority visa service
  • faster overall processing times: on average 2 days quicker due to faster transit times to the visa hub

In most countries visa application centres will only be located in one or two major cities, but because of the size of Australia and the time and expense of travelling between cities, VFS will provide visa services in more cities but will have to charge an additional fee for doing so. In Canberra and Perth, where demand is less, the application centres will be open for fewer days.

British High Commissioner to Australia, Paul Madden, said:

The change to visa arrangements in Australia is part of a global restructuring. The move to a commercial partner will deliver better services to more customers in more locations around the world. In Australia, this will initially include new visa application centres where customers can submit applications rather than having to post their own, and a new optional priority visa service which aims to process applications in 3-5 days compared to the usual 3 weeks. We will look to roll-out further services in response to customer feedback and demand.

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