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Visa First - bad service

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Visa First - bad service


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1. Posted by bilsy (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

On the topic of Visa First i'd like to share my experience. Im from Melbourne Australia and am trying to organise my WHV, Bank account and NIN for the UK and decided to use VF.

  • *Never in my life have I experienced such bad customer service and complete lack of communication.**

I sent off my application just before xmas and have been calling 2 times a day for the past 2 weeks trying to get an update about my Visa. Not once have they even answered the phone let alone called me back. I've left a voicemail almost every time and sent multiple emails with questions about a rough date that I should expect to receive my VISA. Nothing. No answers to my questions via email, no return calls. All I'm after is a simple call along the lines of "your visa is being processed and you should expect to hear from us on XXXX."

They quote that you can check the status of your visa online... another piece of work in progress I assume.

What exactly is the problem here? Is it the time of year? Or is this the kind of service I should tell my friends to about. If word of mouth if their main avenue to expanding their customer base, Im surprised they managed to get off the ground in the first place.

Has anyone else from Australia been in this position?

2. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member 274 posts) 9y

I know the UK visa place was shut from like the 25th until early Jan sometime, but yeah they should have been back open for at least a week now.

I'm from Melbourne also and in the process of getting my WHV. They currently have my passport (it's supposed to take 10 working days and was only around 16 before I had to go). I sent them a letter etc saying it's important that it's back, so I hope I don't get the same treatment or I'm kinda screwed :(

Wierd thing is they charged me the money straight away the day they got it, don't see why it should take 10 days assuming they'd only accept a payment when its been all sorted :S So yeah I'm a bit sceptical too.

But yeah about 5 days left so if I don't get it soon I won't be a happy chappy either :P I'll keep you updated!


[ Edit: Edited on Jan 13, 2008, at 9:14 PM by Erik85 ]

3. Posted by bilsy (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

Hey Erik yeah keep us posted. Good luck with getting it all sorted!

I've had to delay my flights twice now. Yesterday I finally got hold of a consultant from Visa First to get an update.... The only way I managed to do this was over the online chat. An operator only seems to be available after 5pm (as they operate out of Dublin apparently) but in all honesty she was quite helpful.

STILL no return call from Visa First Sydney office and still nobody answers the phone there. Because of this the earliest I could book my finger scanning appointment with the embassy was the 24th of JAN.

On a slightly different note, the fee for my application was $AU735 (WHV, NIN, bank account). On their website and all applications the amount to be charged is quoted in AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS. I look at my bank statement and they've charged me 431 EUROs --> Now I've copped a massive fee from my bank for the international transaction. Nowhere is it mentioned that the amount will be deducted as a foreign currency.

Ill provide another update once I hear from them again.

4. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member 274 posts) 9y

I realised after I posted that I'm actually applying through the British High Commission rather than this Visa First place directly. But anyway, both organisations seem just as bad.

Here's my update:

I've just had to change my flights because the British High Commission (at least a week after I sent them my passport) decided to change their rule from 10 working days to 15 working days without any warning. So I can't get any information whatsoever on where my passport is until the 1st of February. I sent them the info via express post on the 8th of January I also sent them a letter saying I'd need my passport by the 29th if any delays were experienced (still allowing ~14 working days). And yeah if you include the delay/booking the biometric thing all up I'll have spent like 40 days trying to organise it.

For them to have my passport for almost a month without ANY word on it at all is ridiculous IMO. Especially considering I was cautious enough to follow a rule saying I can't apply more than 3 months in advance (I'm spending 2 months in India/Nepal...well 1.5 months now).

This working holiday visa is supposed to be mainly for "holiday" purposes rather than work, yet I'm destroying my holiday trying to sort this through an extremely slow and bureaucratic organisation :(

I'd say your Visa First place is also trying to sort through this organisation whose competence leaves a lot to be desired. I would have complained to them on the spot but it costs $2.75/minute to talk to them so it wasn't even worth it.

They seem to think that all our travel plans should revolve around them and be done after the extremely long visa process, I think they should wake up to the 21st Century. And on a side note you can't even email them, I'll have to send a complaint via snail mail, which might take 2 months for them to process


[ Edit: Edited on Jan 23, 2008, at 9:20 PM by Erik85 ]

5. Posted by martensite (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y


6. Posted by prendy98 (Full Member 78 posts) 9y

I used Visa First service for when I needed a WHV for Australia including Bank Account, Tax File, Mobile Sim etc and got my WHV within 48hours an my other documents withing 5 working days - just to put a balance on things

Hope it all works out for u guys thou

7. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member 274 posts) 8y

Yay finally got my passport back with the visa.

After I sent it on the 8th of Jan via express post, it finally arrived on the 1st of February. There was no reason for any extra delays and they didn't have to get any more info on me so it looks like this is the standard time it takes.
Bilsy your visa first place probably has to go through the same process unfortunately, and maybe longer for the bank account etc. - I hope it's already arrived or will soon

Quoting prendy98

I used Visa First service for when I needed a WHV for Australia including Bank Account, Tax File, Mobile Sim etc and got my WHV within 48hours an my other documents withing 5 working days - just to put a balance on things

Hope it all works out for u guys thou

Damn you! j/k
I'd say there's a difference between the countries though - Australia hasn't had any of their airports bombed so maybe that's why (or we're incredibly efficient! ). Jan could also be a very busy period but they should either account for this or at least let us know it's busy and may take longer though :(

Oh well I'm happy I finally got mine and can look forward to the day of my flight without as much anxiety about it!


[ Edit: Edited on Jan 31, 2008, at 4:50 PM by Erik85 ]

8. Posted by bilsy (Budding Member 11 posts) 8y

Good stuff then.

Yes the delays are definitely with Visa First. Its taken them a month to actually send off the visa application to the Embassy. i.e this happened yesterday. Prendy, I agree that the UK counterpart of Visa First is really good, they're the only ones I can get in touch with when I want an update, then they call the Aus office and ask them to get in touch with me.

Still to this day have I actually been able to call the Aus office in Sydney and have someone answer the phone OR call me back after leaving multiple voicemails. Pathetic customer service. I think they need to import some staff from the UK, or have a good look at the quality of staff working in Australia.

9. Posted by bilsy (Budding Member 11 posts) 8y

Just received another update, why am I not surprised at this.

As mentioned above I received a call on Wednesday saying my application and passport were received and being sent to the embassy on that day.

Just now I received a call from Visa First (5:20pm on Friday afternoon, 3 days later)
VF - "Have you had a chance to send us your updated bank statement?"
BILSY - "What statement?"
VF - "We need your updated bank statement to show Dec and Jan details?"
BILSY - "Nobody told me about this on Wednesday and I was under the impression the application had already been sent off"
VF - "No sorry we need Dec and Jan bank statement before we can send it off"
BILSY - "Ok ill scan it and email right now, why didn't anyone tell me about this on Wednesday?" - I had a copy of the latest one with me at work.
VF - "Sorry they must have forgotten"

I have now effectively lost ANOTHER week. It wont be posted until Monday, then best case received on Tuesday / Wednesday, then 15 working days get get the visa from the embassy. Again time to change my flights, arrival dates, plans with friends & work.

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