If you’ve done your research about Canadian immigration or looked into a certain immigration application process, you might’ve come across a company called VFS Global. VFS Global is an immigration processing firm that’s partnered with the Canadian government to help ease the processing load. From 2009 to 2019, Canada has awarded almost $200 million to VFS Global to handle visa application submissions and biometric data collection at Canadian visa application centers in more than 80 countries.
Past Concerns with VFS Global
Numerous individuals started to question how reliable this company actually was including Tobias Denskus, a professor of international development in Sweden who applied to come to Canada in February 2019 to renew his permanent residency. He said he was alarmed at handing over his most sensitive information to VFS Global, a massive visa outsourcing corporation. VFS Global is also significantly funded by a Chinese investor. Many are questioning why the company hasn’t been thoroughly reviewed because of it!
With concerns rising about the monitoring and control of the company, the country moved to privatize parts of its visa application process and security as experts say the lack of transparency and oversight of the visa should be a major concern.
VFS Global’s Privacy Breach
In 2015, the company experienced a serious privacy breach that allowed the personal information of Italian visa applicants, including their date of birth, passport details, and addresses, to be exposed online. VFS reported that a “small number of application data” was “potentially accessible for a short time.”
Since then, IRCC told Global News that while it was unaware of these privacy and oversight concerns, there is an extensive program in place to make sure visa application centres comply with Canada’s privacy laws.
This ended in a lawsuit against the Canadian government conducted by an experienced immigration lawyer with numerous clients who have been affected. The lawsuit covers over two million multi-entry visa applicants who overpaid the Canadian government, some by as much as $55 per application between 2009 and 2015.
People are still skeptical about VFS Global and as of now, while other countries receive a portion of revenues from VFS Global, Canada does not. Canada’s contract with VFS is set to expire on Oct. 31, 2023, but can be extended.