Alles Promises Action Over BIA Disturbance; Clarifies VISA Charges


Sri Lanka's Minister of Public Security, Tiran Alles, has pledged swift action in response to a recent disturbance at Katunayake Airport's visa issuance section. The incident, which sparked widespread social media discussion, involved both the individual causing the disturbance and the officers documenting it.

Following a decision in 2023 to outsource visa issuance to VFS Global, a third-party company, changes in visa fees were introduced. These alterations, including an increase in online visa fees to $75 along with additional convenience and facility charges, have raised the total visa fee to $100.77.

The recent incident, occurring on Wednesday (1), prompted VFS Global to suspend visa issuance, leading immigration officials to revert to previous fee structures. Minister Alles clarified that the $50 fee for a 30-day visa will be reinstated from Tuesday (7).

Addressing concerns about Indian involvement in visa processing, Minister Alles emphasized that VFS Global, despite majority ownership by Blackstone, Kuoni, and EQT, is not an Indian company. He underscored that Sri Lankan personnel managed visa counters during the incident.

Minister Alles highlighted plans to enhance immigration processes by seeking input from Singaporean authorities. A delegation is scheduled to arrive on May 27 to assess Sri Lanka's immigration and emigration systems and offer recommendations for improvement.