Does outsourcing reduce quality? A self observed study

This year I sat for my UK and US visa both from the same city i.e Kolkata(Calcutta). From a general management perspective, there are some points I observed between the processes each country’s consulate has adopted which I’d like to share and ask you a question in the end.

  • Both countries have outsourced their visa application processes to a company called VFS Global. VFS Global is a commercial company, working in partnership with the border agency & high commission of UK and US to provide Visa services. This company handles Human Resource, paper work.
  • UK had outsourced almost 90% of its visa processing whereas US has outsourced around 45%.
  • The fee is collected in Indian Rs and most highest price of the exchange rate is taken into account.
  • Fee collection is via banks. VSF UK visa has collaboration with a few banks but only some branches. VFS-US-Visa has collaborated with HDFC bank only at many branches throughout the country. Banks charge their own service fees and tax.
  • US has their own infrastructure for the Interview inside the consulate office premises but for UK its not. In Calcutta , they have purchased some office and handed over to VFS Global.
  • UK biometric takes fingerprints and retina scan.US biometric takes only fingerprints.
  • UK visa may have a personal interview but for tourist etc. its not needed if the documents are satisfactory. US visa has a personal interview mandatory for all visa application.
  • VFS Global has more control over UK visa. Their interview center has a security check but things like mobiles etc are allowed. For US, no electronics are allowed and no sealed envelops.
  • UK visa can provide Photograph on Demand, Photocopies on Demand all good facilities for the applicant. NO such things available in US visa office.
  • UK visa center is quite commercial with people selling matrix calling cards and study loans etc. Full of banners everywhere. Nothing allowed at US visa office.

Overall, from my point of view. UK had something extra and missing than US and vice-versa.

Does outsourcing reduce quality? I leave it upto my readers to decide!

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  3. Quality of service through outsoucing/self-managed depends on the efforts taken by the chief of that operation to satisfy clients/customers/etc.

    If outsourced due to cost cutting/unaviodable reasons, the quality depends on who monitors (from source company) the outsourced company. Quality of service can be improved only by continuously monitoring the system, and having a mindset of simplifying the system. Finally, satisfaction comes at both the ends.

    In my opinion, matters dealing with national importance should not be outsourced by governments, especially in case of visa.

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