They will not be able to pass the accreditation proposed by the deputies.
In Russia, the visa centers of all foreign embassies, where hundreds of thousands of Russians annually applied for visas for foreign trips, may be closed. As a result, they will issue visas directly at the consulates, as they did 20 years ago, which will lead to huge queues and make the process of obtaining a visa simply impossible for many.
Irina Tyurina, press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry (PCT), spoke about the problems that companies operating visa centers in Russia may face.
According to her, last week United Russia deputies received a proposal to adopt amendments that would provide for mandatory accreditation by the Russian Foreign Ministry of all companies that provide intermediary services to Russians in obtaining visas, Interfax reports.
At the same time, the company managing visa centers will have to have representative offices in at least 20 constituent entities of the Russian Federation and the share of foreign capital participation should not exceed 20%. In addition, companies must have the technical means to process confidential information and have at least three years of experience in processing documents for obtaining visas.
“The criteria for issuing accreditation are now such that none of the existing operators of the CC will be able to get it,” Tyurina believes. She explained that at least one item – the share of foreign participation in the authorized capital – does not pass any of the operating companies. Thus, embassies will either have to change service providers or suspend their activities.
She noted that if, for example, the company holding the contract transfers the operational management of the visa center to a Russian subcontractor who manages to open 20 representative offices in a short time, then this subcontractor will still not comply with the law, since it does not have three years of experience in providing such services.
As a result, Tyurina believes, embassies will simply close visa centers, and visas will be issued, as it was in the 90s, in their own visa department, the only one in the whole country.
“This means that both tourists and tour operators are at risk of returning to the practice of the beginning of the 2000s, when obtaining visas every time became an unforgettable quest,” Tyurina concluded.
In addition, the adoption of the law threatens to have a mirror response in relation to companies operating Russian visa centers abroad.