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How to deal with VFS Global blockage on NVQ student visa applicants | Immigration Matters

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Immigration Matters has received of emails and calls from applicants worried about the submission of their documents at VFS Global, the British Embassy’s visa handling partner in Manila. 

Last month the Zurich based VFS Global (part of Kuoni) imposed further restrictions specifically on NVQ students applying for visas to take up study places on courses in the UK. 

NVQ students were told that the paper based portion of their visa applications would only be dealt with by appointment and access was limited to just ten per day

Hundreds of NVQ students, who had already submitted their online VAF visa applications, were then unable to obtain appointments to submit their documents and biometrics. 

Immigration Matters has taken legal opinion from a senior Level 3 Immigration Adviser, Jerry Turner of Bison UK, who specialises in visa and entry clearance appeals. 

Mr Turner’s view on the VFS Global visa restrictions on NVQ students is that the British Embassy is “failing to comply with the immigration rules” and are effectively running their own local “policy”. 

Mr Turner has represented refused clients in a substantial number of appeals at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) and Bison UK has won 95% of its cases. He said: 

“Any local regulations which restrict the right to make an application are unlawful. There is no power in the immigration rules for visa sections to restrict the number of visa applications, when they can be submitted, or how they can be submitted – providing they meet the requirements of the rules.”

 “The matter appears to be covered by Part 1 of the Immigration rules. Rule 34 clearly contemplates applications by post. 

“An application made using the correct form and supplying all the mandatory information can, therefore, be sent by post irrespective of whatever local procedures are in place, as these are not authorised by the rules.”

Suggested approach  

Once you have submitted your online VAF application (at which point, according to Mr Turner, it could be argued that an application for entry clearance has been made), you should take steps to submit original documents and pay the visa fee. 

The next step for applicants in the Philippines (and many other applicants using large visa sections and regional hubs) is to visit the Embassy’s visa handling partner, in this case VFS Global, to pay the visa fee and submit biometrics and paper based documents, such as bank statements and letters of acceptance from a college. Unfortunately, VFS Global has singled out and blocked hundreds of students accepted on NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) courses. 

If you are unable to obtain an appointment and have done everything in your power to submit your documents, you could send your original application, documents and visa fee (very important) to the British Embassy Visa Section by Registered Mail or post, with photocopies to VFS Global/VAC.  

The Embassy visa section will then have the applications in the system, and can request that VFS Global to contact the candidate for an appointment.  

Immigration Rule 34 

34A. Where an application form is specified, the application or claim must also comply with the following requirements:

(i) the application or claim must be made using the specified form,
(ii) any specified fee in connection with the application or claim must be paid in accordance with the method specified in the application form, separate payment form and/or related guidance notes, as applicable,
(iii) any section of the form which is designated as mandatory in the application form and/or related guidance notes must be completed as specified,
(iv) if the application form and/or related guidance notes require the applicant to provide biographical information, such information must be provided as specified,
(v) an appointment for the purposes stated in subparagraph (iv) must be made and must take place by the dates specified in any subsequent notification by the Secretary of State following receipt of the application, or as agreed by the Secretary of State,
(vi) where the application or claim is made by post or courier, or submitted in person:

(a) the application or claim must be accompanied by the photographs and documents specified as mandatory in the application form and/or related guidance notes,

(ab) those photographs must be in the same format specified as mandatory in the application form and/or related guidance notes, and

(b) the form must be signed by the applicant, and where applicable, the applicant’s spouse, civil partner, same-sex partner or unmarried partner, save that where the applicant is under the age of eighteen, the form may be signed by the parent or legal guardian of the applicant on his behalf,

(vii) where the application or claim is made online:

(a) the photographs and documents specified as mandatory must be submitted in the manner directed in the application form and/or related online guidance notes and by such date as is specified in the acknowledgement of the online application,

(ab) those photographs must be in the same format specified as mandatory in the application form and/or related guidance notes, and

(b) the confirmation box (which states that the information contained in the application form is true and complete) must be completed by the applicant or, if the form is completed by an immigration adviser on the applicant’s behalf, by the immigration adviser on specific instructions from the applicant that the information given is true and complete, and

(viii) the application or claim must be delivered in accordance with paragraph 34B. 

34B.Where an application form is specified, it must be sent by prepaid post to the United Kingdom Border Agency of the Home Office, or submitted in person at a public enquiry office of the United Kingdom Border Agency of the Home Office, save for the following exceptions: 

(i) an application may not be submitted at a public enquiry office of the United Kingdom Border Agency of the Home Office if it is an application for:

(a) limited or indefinite leave to remain as a sole representative, retired person of independent means, or as a Tier 1 Migrant or Tier 2 Migrant, other than an application for limited leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Migrant.

(b) indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence,
(c) a certificate of approval for a marriage or civil partnership,
(d) a Tier 4 or Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) sponsorship licence;
(e) Indefinite leave to remain as a businessperson, investor or innovator, or
(f) limited leave to remain as a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrant. 

 (ii) an application may be sent by courier to the United Kingdom Border Agency of the Home Office if it is an application for:

(a) limited or indefinite leave to remain as a sole representative, retired person of independent means or as a Tier 1 Migrant or Tier 2 Migrant;
(b) limited leave to remain for work permit employment, as a seasonal agricultural worker, for the purpose of employment under the Sectors-Based Scheme.
(c) Indefinite leave to remain as a businessperson, investor or innovator, or
(d) limited leave to remain as a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrant.

(iii) an application may not be sent by pre-paid post, and must be made online, if it is an application for a Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) sponsorship licence.

34C.Where an application or claim in connection with immigration for which an application form is specified does not comply with the requirements in paragraph 34A, such application or claim will be invalid and will not be considered. 

34D.Where the main applicant wishes to include applications or claims by any members of his family as his dependants on his own application form, the applications or claims of the dependants must meet the following requirements or they will be invalid and will not be considered:

(i) the application form must expressly permit the applications or claims of dependants to be included, and
(ii) such dependants must be the spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner and/or children under the age of 18 of the main applicant. 

Suggested covering letter 

“To VFS/Visa Application Centre, Makati City, Metro Manila

cc  British Embassy Visa Section, Taguig City, Metro Manila 

In view of the difficulty in making an appointment to submit personally these papers to your good offices, enclosed please find the printout of my online application together with supporting documentation, and the required visa fee (banker’s cheque enclosed).   

Please let me know as soon as possible when you could take my Biometrics and interview, if this is required.  I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Yours faithfully,

 

Student name” 

One final point – the originals should not be sent to VFS Global, but to the embassy with the copies to VFS. The rules provide for service by post on the Visa Section not to handling partners such as VFS.  

Despite the “appointment only” restriction, some student candidates through sheer persistence have managed to submit documents to VFS without an appointment by simply turning up and waiting for a cancellation. In some cases this has taken several hours or even days, which is obviously impractical for candidates living hundreds of miles away in Baguio, Cebu or Mindanao.

Others have recently had previously booked appointments in April brought forward to March, which seems to contradict claims by VFS staff that there are “no available slots for March and April”. 

For the latest immigration news visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship, Visas or an appeal against a refusal please email us at: info@immigrationmatters.co.uk

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7 Responses to “How to deal with VFS Global blockage on NVQ student visa applicants”
Read them below or add one

  1. (a) the application or claim must be accompanied by the photographs and documents specified as mandatory in the application form and/or related guidance notes, i dont understand what i need to do as i recieved my application as invalid for this

  2. hi,
    my friend launched her visa application for an NVQ last January. up to now, she has not received any word from the British Embassy.

    some of her friends would like to apply also and in fact has already confirmation of a work contract from the UK. but she has to wait for the new system.

    i am asking for information in behalf of these friends because they are in the province and do not have easy access to an internet provider.

    i am confused. your site says that NVQ’s can walk-in and launch their visa application but the official site of the British Embassy-Manila says all NVQ applications should be lodged by appointment.

    which is which?

    who is charles kelly? he seems to be in the know regarding the launching of NVQ applications.

    pardon me sir? but is this web site an official adjunct of the British Embassy?

    thank you for your prompt reply.

    maria

  3. There is not much you can do but be patient. If you are not happy there is a complaints procedure on the UK Visas website, but it will not help your application. See http://www.immigrationmatters.co.uk/points-based-tier-4-starts-31-march.html for latest update. The Embassies are inundated with student applications so processing time is now 3 to 4 months.

  4. cris velez says :

    hi good am. My niece applied for student visa last feb. 3,2009. She has been told that the result would only take 30 working days.. It has been 30 days since she applied for it and still there is no result. What shall we do now? Thank you and God Bless

  5. […] We have received hundreds of complaints from students unable to get an appointment to submit documents to the British Embassy’s visa handling partner, VFS Global.  […]

  6. See “How to Deal with VFS Blockage”: – http://www.immigrationmatters.co.uk/how-to-deal-with-vfs-global-blockage-on-nvq-student-visa-applicants.html
    You could also try going back and waiting until they see you.

  7. hi,
    my niece went to VFS Makati to submit the on-line application, documents and to pay visa fee including Biometrics but shes been seen and told that she cant submit the documents and she should make an appointment online.What shall we do now.Thank you.

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