The Home Office has awarded two contracts, together worth £621m, for managing visa applications.
VF Worldwide Holdings and Teleperformance Limited have been awarded contracts of £321m and £300m respectively to manage visa applications globally.
Services provided will include application and biometric services, biometric enrolment, document registration, interview booking and facilities and courier services packages.
"Working with our new partners will allow us to offer customers a more consistent and transparent visa service, as well as delivering a wider range of priority, premium and added value services in more locations around the world," said a Home Office spokesperson.
The Home Office also said the contracts would reduce costs and provide better value for money. Each contract will last five years, with options to extend each contract twice for a period of two years at a time.
The suppliers will work to supply a range of services for UK visas and Immigration across countries including Africa, Americas and Asia Pacific, China and Taiwan, Meditation countries, South Asia, Gulf and Pakistan, Canada and Australia.
The contract for the applications process performed in Visa Application Centres will commence from 1 April 2014.
The Home Office will also be replacing more contracts due to expire at the end of March 2014 with more outsourcing contracts for biometric enrolment, courier services and interviewing facilities,
Ongoing problems with the UK’s border agency were noted a month ago, where it was made clear that a pilot system is still being used for the Home Office e-Borders programme. The system which was developed in 2004, three years after the department cancelled a £750m contract for the full IT project, is still being implanted. A report into e-Borders by John Vine, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, revealed that a new supplier is not due to be chosen until later this year.