The Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, has promised to work on increasing visa capacity amid reports of a visa appointments crunch faced by travellers from Britain.
The envoy, who took charge at India House in London at the end of last month, revealed plans for a new visa centre in Scotland by next week and one in central London by the end of the month.
He said: “The essence of this effort is to ensure that we go up to about 40,000 visa applications per month, which is a doubling of our capacity.
"We also hear your concerns with regard to the ease of being able to submit applications. We are working on solutions for this with our service provider and will have an update on that. Our goal is that you should be able to travel easily, with less difficulty, with less effort in getting your paperwork done for the holiday season.”
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It comes amid reports of cancelled Indian holidays as a result of soaring demand for visas as travellers from the UK make up for their missed Covid lockdown hit travel plans to India.
Last week, the Indian High Commission in London had issued a statement to say that it is investigating reports of unauthorised agents illegally charging fees to get visas processed for travellers to India.
“It has come to our notice that unauthorised agents and individuals are illegally charging fees and collecting India visa applications for submission at VFS Centres, misleading applicants and misrepresenting the services that they can legally provide,” the High Commission’s statement said.
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It also reiterated that there had been no change in the visa application process for individual visa applicants.
The UK is currently not included in the over 150 countries that can access the online tourist e-visa option when travelling to India, which has also caused considerable strain for tourists who are facing long waits at the outsourced VFS centres for their applications to be processed.