A joint Visa Application Centre (VAC) for the UK and Australia was formally opened on May 19 in Thimphu, Bhutan, by Harinder Sidhu, Australian Ambassador to Bhutan, and Michael Rutland, OBE, the Honorary Consul for the UK in Bhutan.
This new VAC will allow Bhutanese nationals to apply for either UK or Australian visas in Thimphu. Earlier, they had to lodge their applications in India.
Said to be a joint venture between VFS Global (in partnership with Australia) and UK Visas and Immigration, it is expected that the new VAC will encourage Bhutan citizens to visit Australia as well as the UK.
Speaking at the occasion, Sidhu said that she was excited that the new centre would improve applicants’ access from Bhutan wanting to visit Australia for tourism, study or pleasure.
She said that Australia and Bhutan had been friends for a long time and stated that she was pleased to have assisted the development of Bhutan over many years. She welcomed Bhutanese students to Australia and asked them to make a valuable contribution to their homeland upon returning.
Dominic Asquith KCMG, the British High Commissioner to India, said that he was happy to announce the UK’s first Visa Application Centre opening during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Bhutan in April. He hoped that this would help Bhutanese visitors procure their visas more easily. He added that they would be warmly welcomed and hoped that they would have a nice time discovering the UK.