THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the VFS Global signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the establishment of a passport renewal center (PaRC), making it easier for Filipinos in two Middle East countries to renew their passports.
Signed at Wafi Mall in Dubai, the PaRC aims to provide an alternative means for Filipinos to avail of passport renewal services in United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the two countries identified to have the highest concentration of Filipino workers.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Head of Business Development for VFS Global Business Development head Chris Dix witnessed the signing of the agreement establishing the PaRC. The signing ceremony coincided with the inauguration of the first PaRC in Dubai Health Care City.
This is the first time that the Philippine government has outsourced part of its renewal of passport application service to a private entity.
UAE is home to about 600,000 Filipinos workers, the second-largest concentration of Filipino Workers in the Middle East region. Naturally, the demand for passport renewal service is high.
The launch of PaRC in Dubai allows Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates to choose between applying for the renewal of their passport at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai or at the Center.
Those who avail of the services at PaRC will pay an additional convenience fee on top of the normal cost of passport renewal that they pay at the Consulate General or at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
PaRC will only cater to simple passport renewal services that do not require any changes in the biographic details of the passport holder. The outsourcing to VFS Global only applies to the frontline operation of passport renewal application such as the acceptance of application, capturing of biometrics and biographical details, payment of fees, and release of passport.
The DFA noted that the actual production of passport is still with the DFA.
In his remarks, Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin said he was confident that PaRC will be a welcome addition to the agency’s range of services.
He added that this was in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to all government agencies to improve their services to the public, especially to Filipinos overseas who have played a significant role in the nation’s development for decades now.
For his part, VFS Global’s Regional Group Chief Operations Officer Vinay said: “We thank the Department of Foreign Affairs for their faith in us. Our Passport and Consular services have been growing from strength to strength, and we look forward to bringing the best in class services to the Philippines expats here in Dubai.”
The launch of PaRC in Dubai will be followed by the opening of similar centers in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, as well as in Riyadh and Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2020.