All foreign visa centers can be closed in Russia

State Duma deputies from United Russia prepared amendments to the federal legislation on the accreditation of foreign visa centers in Russia. The amendments are such that these centers will be closed.
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The introduction of mandatory accreditation of companies managing visa centers in the territory of Russia may lead to their closure and the appearance of huge queues at consulates, the press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry (PCT), Irina Tyurina, told Interfax on Thursday.

"Today there are six companies operating in Russia operating visa service centers under the brands VFS Global, GVCW - RCS of Greece, VMS - Italy, BLS - Spain, India, TLS - Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, Pony Express. Information on each is contained in the State Register of Legal Entities persons and published in open sources, "said Tyurina.

According to her, the proposal to amend the FZ-114 "On the procedure for leaving and entering the RF" was received last week from the deputies of "United Russia". The amendments imply the assignment to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the function of mandatory accreditation of all companies rendering intermediary services to Russians when issuing visas.

Unattainable criteria

In order to obtain accreditation, it will be necessary for the operator to have branches (representative offices) in at least 20 regions of the Russian Federation, and the maximum share of foreign participation in the authorized capital should not exceed 20%. It is also necessary that the applicant has technical means for processing confidential information (including biometric personal data) certified in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation. In addition, it takes at least three years of experience in collecting and processing documents to obtain a visa on behalf of diplomatic missions and consular missions.

"The criteria for issuing accreditation are now such that none of the existing CC operators will be able to obtain it." At least one point is the share of foreign participation in the authorized capital - none of them will pass the proposed accreditation of the Foreign Ministry. "All foreign diplomatic missions in Russia will either urgently change the service providers, or suspend the activities of visa centers, "- said Tyurina.

According to her, no Russian company in principle can meet all the requirements of the bill. "Suppose, as a temporary solution, the company-holder of the contract with the diplomatic mission could transfer the operational management of the SEC, including the collection of personal data of the applicants, to some subcontractor - the Russian legal entity.For example, in a short time, this legal entity could open 20 branches in different cities and obtain the necessary certificates of compliance with the law 152-FZ, which is already from the realm of fiction, but where does this jurnlika suddenly take three years of experience in the provision of visa services? "- said Tyurina.

Diplomats stand in line

She stressed that the amendments proposed by the deputies in case of their adoption would put not only service providers of visa centers, but also foreign diplomats in a stalemate.

"It will be easier for embassies and consulates to close visa centers in Russia than to find contractors that meet the new requirements of the law, while visas will be drawn up in the old way - in their own visa department, often the only one in the whole huge country. to the practice of starting "zero", when obtaining visas became unforgettable quests every time, "concluded Tyurina.

The PCT notes that the company managers of the Russian OVC abroad do not receive any additional accreditations. "Just as in the case of foreign RTCs in Russia, their work is regulated by the terms of contracts with the Russian embassies in each country and the general requirements of national legislations to business entities.If the law is unilaterally adopted, we will most likely receive a" mirror response ": Russian visa centers abroad will be placed in front of the same insurmountable barriers of additional certifications and approvals," the press secretary of the association said.