The student-athletes from the Bangalore School Sports Foundation were left in the lurch after their visa applications for participating in the International Children’s Games in the UK were not responded to on time, and now they have not been able to travel despite the opening ceremony being today. The International Children’s Games, also known as the Children’s Olympics, was scheduled to take from the 11th August to 16th August 2022 in Coventry, England. The Bangalore School Sports Foundation released a statement regarding the entire disheartening episode.
According to the press release from the Bangalore School Sports Foundation, they had applied for our UK Visas on the 4th of July through the (VFS) – Visa Facilitating Services Bangalore. The time given by the British High Commission to get a response on the visa was 3 weeks however they failed to receive the visas despite it now having been six weeks since they applied.
The statement further said that they did not receive visas, nor has there been any communication from the British High Commission which the Bangalore School Sports Foundation termed very unethical, and unprofessional and called it a shame for British High Commission to shut all communications and not respond, putting all calls to automated voice response.
The statement further said that on contacting the VFS for responses, they only blame the British High Commission, after being tossed around for 6 weeks with no response, due to which their Air tickets cost escalated to 1,46,000 per athlete impacting them financially. The organisation has now appealed to the Ministry of External Affairs Govt of India to intervene and resolve this unethical practice of the British High Commission and relieve people from hardship.
Not having been able to travel, the children are likely to lose a significant amount of money, in addition, of course, to the disappointment of not having been able to travel and represent their country in an age-restricted competition for which they had been training hard. Furthermore, the once submitted, the application and passport essentially enter a dark zone where it is very hard to get a response on their status and timeframe. Additionally, the passport remains with the visa services agency till there is a verdict, and extracting it before that has a cost attached.
A VFS Global spokesperson responded with the following statement: “Despite an unprecedented surge in visa application volumes in India, VFS Global has maintained its standard turn-around-time of processing in one business day to send to respective embassies/consulates for decision-making. There could be an additional day due to the hub and spoke travel time required between cities, as and when applicable. Decisions on visa applications, and the timelines to process them, are at the sole discretion of the respective embassies/consulates and may vary from one mission to another. The processing timelines are specified in some of the respective embassy/consulate websites, if not all.”