Steep rise in visa application volumes in NepalStudent visas contributed significantly to the overall rise in visa application volumes: VFS Global
With the opening of international borders and relaxation of travel restrictions, visa application volumes in Nepal have increased steeply, according to VFS Global, which provides visa outsourcing and technology services for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide.
The visa application volume in Nepal increased more than 600 percent in the period between January-May 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 and by 130 percent over the same period in 2019, said Elizabeth Samuel, the Deputy Regional Head at VFS Global for North and East India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Israel during an event in Kathmandu on Thursday.
“Volumes in 2021 were significantly less as many international borders were closed with pandemic-induced travel restrictions,” said Samuel. “However, riding on the high pent-up demand volumes in the first half of 2022 have more than doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels.”
Student visas contributed significantly to the overall rise in visa application volumes. “Australia, Canada, Japan and the UK were the major destinations for Nepali students,” Samuel added.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the way people choose to travel has seen a significant change fuelling the need for more personalised travel services and experiences. Catering to this new shift, service providers have introduced services that have been widely accepted as well.
“After the Covid-19 pandemic, international travellers have adopted the health-first approach by prioritising safe travel through wider adoption of contactless technology,” she said.
VFS Global too introduced services such as visa at your doorstep, mobile visa application centre and form-filling assistance to facilitate people in the visa application process.
“Visa at your doorstep is a technology-enabled service which allows the collection of visa applications and applicants’ biometrics from their location of choice. Mobile visa application centre offers enhanced customer convenience, security features and enhanced network reach. Similarly, form-filling assistance refers to personalised assistance from professionally trained staff to complete and submit the visa applications,” said Samuel.
Established in 2001, VFS Global functions for 65 client governments in 143 countries and has processed more than 240 million applications thus far.
In South Asia, it operates in 31 cities and has more than 660 application centres.
“We process visa applications for around 23 countries from Nepal,” said Samuel. “We manage non-judgemental and administrative tasks related to the application of visas, passport and consular identity and citizen services for government part of our client portfolio.”