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Visa Facilitation Services

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total cost has been to public funds of payments made to Visa Facilitation Services for the provision of an online visa application service in (a) India, (b) Nigeria and (c) Russia. (154638)

The Visa Facilitation Services online application services in India, Nigeria and Russia are funded by a handling fee charged to applicants. No public funds have been involved in the provision of this service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to seek financial compensation from Visa Facilitation Services for the security failures set out in the report of the Independent Investigation published on 28th July; and if he will make a statement. (154639)

No, as no financial loss was incurred. The independent investigator concluded that she could find no evidence that any personal data were misused as a result of the breach of security at the Visa Facilitation Services online visa application facility. We are committed to working with Visa Facilitation Services to ensure that a high standard of customer service is maintained under the contract, which replaces the previous arrangements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has any remaining contracts with Visa Facilitation Services in force; and if he will make a statement. (154640)

UKvisas signed a commercial partnership agreement with VF Worldwide Holdings Ltd. (Visa Facilitation Services) on 27 February 2007. This contract provides that VF Worldwide Holdings will supply UKvisas with visa application and related services in the far east, Former Soviet Union, Gulf and Pakistan, South Asia, South East Asia (excluding Australia and New Zealand), Southern, Central and Eastern Africa and West Africa. This contract is being rolled out across the world gradually throughout 2007. As it comes into effect in each country, it will supersede any previous existing contracts between UKvisas and Visa Facilitation Services in that country.

Visa Facilitation Services currently provides a service for UKvisas in China, India, Qatar and Russia under contracts which have not yet been superseded by the 27 February 2007 contract.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether disciplinary action has been taken against members of staff at UKvisas following the report of the Independent Investigator into breaches of data security in the Visa Facilitation Services online visa application facility; and if he will make a statement. (154641)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has accepted all of the recommendations made by the independent investigator in her report into the data breach at the Visa Facilitation Services online visa application facility. None recommended disciplinary action against UKvisas staff.