VFS Global, under the aegis of the Malaysian Government, is set to open seven Malaysian Visa Application Centres in the first half this year. These Centres will be set up in New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Kochi. Currently VFS Global operates Malaysian Visa Application Centres in Mumbai and Hyderabad.
The announcement of the new centres was made during the visit of Hon. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Bin HJ Mohd Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, his first on his official visit to India, at the VFS Global Malaysia Visa Application Centre in Mumbai this morning. The Malaysian delegation present at the event comprised of Dato' Tan Seng Sung, High Commissioner of Malaysia for India, Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah, Consul General of Malaysia, Mumbai and Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia, South Asia. Members of the travel trade were also present at the event and interacted with the delegation.
Addressing the media, Sung revealed plans for shortening visa processing period and also lowering visa fees, thus eliminating cost and time as an obstacle for tourists. He also informed that several new packages and expansion plans of the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines in India are in the pipeline. However, he refused to mention details saying the same will be revealed at a later date. Government of Malaysia recently introduced one year multiple-entry visa in India and also a programme called, ‘Malaysia my second home,’which is a ten-year multiple entry visa for those with holiday homes in Malaysia. “Tourism is among the 12 key sectors o the Malaysian economy and Indians feature in the top ten in terms of arrival numbers,”said Sung.
VFS Global began a pilot programme with the Malaysian Government last year to open the Malaysia Visa Application Centres in Mumbai and Hyderabad. This was to set the ground for the plan to provide a network of services across India for the benefit of the travelers to Malaysia and also to enable the Malaysian Diplomatic Missions to cater to the volume of travel. Since their inception, over 10000 applications have been processed in total and the number is expected to go up with the opening of the new centres. According to VFS Global, the new VACs aim to further enhance the image of Malaysia as a ‘round-the-year destination.’ Travellers can look forward to an enhanced level of service with features including extended reach, comfortable office premises, extended submission duration, convenient modes of payments, faster turnaround time, passport delivery and many more value-added service initiatives.
Malaysia has seen a six-fold growth in Indian tourist arrivals in the last ten years. The numbers have grown from 130,000 in 2000 to 690,000 in 2010. According to Sung, in addition to tourism, Malaysia also hopes to build business and trade relations with India. “Business and work opportunities have increased for young Indians, especially with companies like Reliance and Wipro opening offices in Malaysia. It brings about cultural and commercial closeness between the two countries,” added Sung. “VFS Global is privileged to receive Honorable Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj. Mohd Yassin and his visit to the Malaysia Visa Application Centre in Mumbai shows the commitment of the Malaysian Government towards this initiative and other innovative steps in ensuring the smooth travel between the two countries,” stated . Paul John – Director, VFS Global.