Latest Kerala Local News: Kozhikode VFS Centre: Latest guidelines pose challenges for

Damam: Keralite expats living in Saudi Arabia had high hopes when a VFS visa stamping center was opened in Kozhikode.

However, it has been reported that the difficulties faced by those who come to the VFS center to obtain family visas or stamped visit visas remain the same. Previously, the only center was in Kochi where huge crowds turned up to stamp visas. So, the authorities have decided to open a new center in the Malabar region in order to help the large number of applicants here.

Although many could get their visa stamped without traveling to Kochi, most people complain that the latest guidelines are stricter. The VFS has been tasked to complete the visa and biometric stamping processes in India itself to elevate the service standards and facilitate these processes.

However, people are struggling as procedures and guidelines have become stricter and more complex. In the meantime, expats hope that these complex procedures will soon be simplified.

Additionally, they say there has also been a significant increase in service charges. Previously, stamping could be done for Rs 10,000. However, now up to Rs 16,000 is levied as a service charge. In addition, those who manage to get an appointment are often asked to come back citing slight errors or negligible faults. There have also been cases of families facing difficulties when a visa application for one family member is rejected due to errors while others are allowed to obtain visas.

Even if they correct the mistakes, they can only make an appointment online after trying for days or even weeks. If a family member’s visa is cleared through the Saudi Embassy in New Delhi, then they must complete the remaining procedures at the VFS centers in Kolkata, Lucknow or Delhi.

A student, from Kollam, who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and is currently pursuing higher education in Kerala, recently faced such difficulties. She tried to get her visit visa stamped at the Kochi center in order to visit her parents. It was only then that she realized that her visa was cleared through the embassy in Delhi and that no booking slots were available in Kochi for the next three months.

The student then had to travel to Delhi to have the visa stamped, as she would not be able to travel to Saudi Arabia again after three months. She says such experiences are extremely painful for people who come from distant lands.

One of the latest guidelines states that a spouse who has previously traveled to Saudi Arabia on a visit visa must present the old passport with the old visa stamped on it in order to apply for a new visa. An expat, originally from Alappuzha, recently struggled to get his family’s visas stamped, as only half of the applications from family members were received. His wife, children and parents had traveled to Saudi Arabia several times. Her mother’s name is Jameela Beevi and her father’s name is Aliyaru Kunju. The mother’s name on the passport is Jameela Aliyaru Kunju. However, her father’s stamping request was granted while her mother’s request was denied as her passport did not bear Beevi’s name.

The family must now go through the tedious application processes all over again in order to get the mother’s visa stamped.

Also, the center of Kochi is always crowded even though a new center has been opened in Kozhikode. Expats and visa applicants say the process used to be easier. They hope things will get back to normal soon.

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An Overview of Global Events in 2023

In 2023, the world witnessed a myriad of events that left a lasting impact on global affairs. From political developments and economic shifts to environmental challenges and breakthroughs in science and technology, the year was marked by significant changes and a sense of urgency for collective action. Here’s an overview of some of the latest world news in 2023.

Political Unrest and Diplomatic Strides:
In the political arena, several regions experienced unrest and geopolitical tensions. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continued to dominate headlines, with efforts towards peace and stability remaining elusive. However, there were also moments of diplomatic breakthroughs as nations engaged in dialogues to ease tensions and work towards lasting solutions.

Economic Transformations:
The global economy faced both challenges and opportunities. Trade disputes between major powers affected markets, while some countries grappled with debt crises. On the other hand, emerging economies showed resilience and promising growth, fueling optimism for a more balanced global economic landscape.

Technological Advancements:
Innovation surged forward in the tech industry, with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and space exploration. Quantum computing achieved milestones, promising radical transformations across industries. Renewable energy sources gained traction, with many countries setting ambitious goals to combat climate change.

Climate Crisis and Environmental Resilience:
As the climate crisis intensified, extreme weather events wreaked havoc in various parts of the world. Wildfires, hurricanes, and floods reminded humanity of the urgent need for climate action. In response, governments and communities across the globe doubled down on efforts to reduce carbon emissions, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and protect biodiversity.

Health and Pandemic Management:
Health remained a global priority as countries continued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new variants, vaccination efforts and public health measures remained crucial to curbing the spread of the virus. There were also significant advancements in medical research and technology, offering hope for better preparedness in handling future health crises.

Sports and Cultural Milestones:
Amidst the challenges, the world found moments of joy and unity through sports and culture. International sporting events brought together athletes from diverse backgrounds, promoting solidarity and camaraderie. Cultural exchanges and celebrations showcased the richness of human diversity and fostered mutual understanding.

In conclusion, the year 2023 was a dynamic period filled with significant events that shaped the course of history. From political unrest to technological advancements and environmental challenges, the world witnessed the complexities of the global landscape. While obstacles remained, there were also encouraging developments and collaborative efforts towards a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all nations. As we move forward, the lessons learned from these events serve as a reminder of the importance of collective action and cooperation to address shared global challenges.