As to be expected, the teething problems at Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) centers are continuing, now that visas are starting to come back. The department of Home Affairs (HA) outsourced the taking in of visas and permit applications to Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) in June, as well as the shipping to Pretoria. Home Affairs is still doing the adjudication and of course these are two completely different organizations, with different training standards, legal interpretations and attitudes.
VFS is a money making concept. They take the applications in and appear to care little on the merits of the documents, if they are correct or not. They do not offer any advise, applicants are expected to know what they are actually applying for. Worse of all, many of their internal checklist, which they work with, are wrong and still according to the old law or even full of errors. This leads to VFS employees asking for documents according to the old law, which are no longer applicable or not asking for the right documents. Home Affairs in turn rejects the applications then subsequently.
So there is a completely different set of rules in both organizations. VFS also does not mind accepting appeals, as they can charge the applicant an additional R1.350 fee. We also receive a number of weird duration times lately for permits, which have nothing to do with the expiry dates applied for or possible time frame stated in the Immigration Act.
As the VFS office are now getting more and more busy, we expect those problems also to grow. We fear especially for our Swallows; as many of them will be unable to communicate formally in english and many of them do not even have online access as required; that those problems will be unavoidable.
by Dirk Meissner