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VFS Global Raises Concerns Over On Arrival Visa Controversy at Bandaranaike International Airport

VFS Global, embroiled in controversy over on arrival visa issuance at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), has expressed serious apprehensions to the Public Security Ministry led by Tiran Alles. Despite being a reputable global entity, VFS Global states they were stunned to find themselves victimized as the on arrival visa situation deteriorated.

The Daily Mirror has learned that the government awarded the on arrival visa issuance contract to GBS – IVS, a Singapore-based company, while VFS Global, a multinational American corporation, handled the technical aspects. Last Wednesday night, a severe backlog occurred at the BIA on arrival visa counter due to internet failure, prompting foreign staff to question if sabotage was at play to disrupt services.

Sources reveal that the foreign companies raised these concerns with the Public Security Ministry, prompting an impending government probe. Before GBS – IVS took over, the Department of Immigration and Emigration managed the on arrival visa counter. Amid technical delays, the counter reverted to the Department of Immigration and Emigration, resuming operations smoothly.

“Surprisingly, when GBS – IVS and VFS Global assumed control, BIA’s internet failed, and staff struggled for hours to restore the system. VFS and GBS have alerted the Public Security Ministry to these sabotage concerns,” a senior source familiar with the incident disclosed.

In December, the Public Security Ministry, under Tiran Alles, signed an agreement with GBS – IVS and VFS Global for on arrival visa services, with VFS Global responsible solely for technical support. The government approved a $25 additional charge for the service, bringing the total fee to $100 per passport.

Despite operating similar on arrival visa services in 67 countries, VFS Global’s involvement was not publicized by the Sri Lankan government. Amid the ensuing controversy, VFS Global and GBS – IVS have reportedly informed Minister Tiran Alles of their victimization and the government’s silence in defending their reputation.

Tourism Minister Harin Fernando distanced himself from the issue last week and plans to address it in Parliament this week. VFS Global has strongly communicated to the government the damage to their reputation amidst political crossfire, hoping for resolution soon. Foreign companies entering the country often find themselves disappointed due to the government’s failure to update citizens, leaving them to manage their own image in times of controversy.

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