The managing body of the visa issuance process of the Consulate General of Portugal in Luanda and other countries says it has developed a set of measures that aim to combat fraud attempts in the visa application process.
These fraud attempts, he detailed, arise with non-accredited people pretending to be employees or associations of VFS Global or agents and intermediaries who promise an advance appointment, "which does not exist, for an additional cost".
These agents and/or intermediaries "in this way deceive job seekers and citizens who need to apply for visas to enter abroad", says the institution in a press release sent to Lusa.
As an integral part of measures aimed at combating fraud attempts, VFS Global says it has implemented strict procedures at its centers in Angola, including the Visa Application Center for Portugal in Luanda.
One of the procedures determines that only visa applicants with a valid appointment are allowed to enter the center's facilities, and agents and third parties are not authorized to ask information questions at the facilities, located in the center of the capital.
Scheduling places to obtain visas is one of the main difficulties faced by Angolan students seeking training in Portugal and complaining of "difficulties and bureaucracy" on the part of the Portuguese consulate in Luanda, as Lusa reported in September.
Some reported that, "with luck", they can schedule an appointment within 15 days, made through the VFS Global portal, but the majority wait months to be able to book a place, since, they say, the page is "almost always blocked".
Several users who go to the Visa Center for Portugal, in Luanda, told Lusa that the process for obtaining visas for students "remains complicated" and they fear losing places in educational establishments.
At the institution's facilities, Lusa found, at the time, the presence of intermediaries who promised users speed in the visa scheduling process, a process carried out online, in exchange for money.
This Tuesday, VFS Global, in its statement, promises quick responses to questions by email or complaints, regular communication of measures to detect fraud on its social networks and voice messages via SMS as "strict standards" of privacy of data to combat fraudulent messages.
VFS Global also notes that during the student visa grant period, which runs between August and October, "demand is high, especially for Portugal", urging applicants to be alert to fraud attempts during this period.
It also argues that student visa applicants must beware of approaches from third parties pretending to be service providers and that they must, in a timely manner, carry out due diligence and check the details of the educational institutions at which they intend to study. .
VFS Global, which began operations in Angola in September 2012, currently works for eight governments, including those in South Africa, Belgium, Brazil, France, the Netherlands and Portugal.