But there are loopholes: you can arrange visa sponsorship with local lawyers or open a company yourself with their help and issue an invitation in your name (self-sponsorship), especially since the process of “self-sponsorship” has been simplified since 2020.
Ivanna Shevlyakova is a London-based immigration lawyer based in Moscow, working through her own Law Firm Limited. Shevlyakova has been helping visitors settle in the United Kingdom since the early 2000s, according to her reputation And profile on the social network LinkedIn. Lawyer’s name popped up in the press in connection with the investigation into the influence of the American National Endowment for Democracy (the organization’s activities were declared undesirable in Russia by the decision of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation) in Kazakhstan: in London, Shevlyakova helps pro-American journalist Irina Petrushova to conduct business. Shevlyakova’s partner is another London lawyer from Russia Oleg Degtyarev. 21 years ago, she told Kommersant in detail about the fraudulent scheme for obtaining a passport through the documents of deceased British children, since then her comments have not appeared in the media.
As the Octagon found out, Shevlyakova and Degtyarev have set up a whole conveyor of companies for the employment of migrants. Their scheme is eloquently illustrated by the leapfrog of directors in one of Shevlyakova’s own companies. In her beauty salon Vinokurov Studio London Limited, managers often change: top managers at different times have become Chinese, a citizen of Macau, a Kazakh, a Russian – just the target audience of the Law Firm Limited website.
The peculiarity of Vinokurov Studio London (VSL) is that the project has some signs of real activity, a physical address and a website. But this business is more dead than alive. Social media posts even before 2021 published with long breaks, and then at all stopped appearing. The legal entity depicts activity: in the spring of 2022, the address of the company changed in the register, but it remained the same on its website. Six months ago, salon clients wrotethat they can’t get through to him, and two years earlier, one of the clients complainedthat no one answers her phone. Now the answer to this question is clear: the “barbershop” is needed to “cut” other customers.
In the photographs of the “clients” Shevlyakova herself often flashed. From year to year, her Vinokurov Studio London Limited submits modest balance sheets that differ little from each other, officials periodically threaten to close the company for non-delivery of accounts, as follows from entries in the corporate register. It gives the impression that new site works specifically for officials (in social media accounts the old site and address are indicated).
The nephews of the singer Zemfira * – the twins Arthur and Artyom Ramazanov – left Russia in 2016. They have appeared in the UK corporate register over the past six years as founders and directors of five companies (, , , ).
Nedotrogi LLP, owned by the brothers, existed from 2017 to 2019. The register does not even contain notes about what the organization was doing, the only financial report was submitted with zeros in all columns. The company was also represented by Law Firm Limited in state bodies.
Their company Ostram Limited was listed in the register only in 2017-2018, with a specialization in the construction of residential buildings. Then, in 2017-2021, the operating company of the Ramazanovs Ain’t No Messing Around Ltd was listed (secretary it again had Shevlyakova’s Law Firm Limited), specializing in show business, and again zero declarations and voluntary liquidation, except that at some point 200 thousand pounds sterling was immovably put into the company’s account. It is this amount figured in business visa requirements.
The current legalization of the 33-year-old Ramazanovs is concluded in the legal entity Epsilon VSL Limited. This company belongs to the aforementioned salon Vinokurov Studio London Limited, the company secretary is Law Firm Limited and the Ramazanovs serve as directors. Prior to Epsilon VSL Limited, there was a corporate entity owned by the brothers, Gamma VSL Limited, with the same secretary.
These companies “stick” to the “hairdressing” business, and in their statements there are 200 thousand pounds sterling in the account, which, apparently, flowed from one organization to another.
Previously, Shevlyakova organized Alpha VSL Limitedwhere a Kazakh businessman of Tatar origin was found Vali Khusnutdinov and related Irina Fedyanina. Now they are listed as directors of the main company – a beauty salon. BetaVSL Limited worked for Asian clients. There are also Delta VSL Limited — for Vyacheslav Menshutin, a businessman from the Russian insurance industry.
For investment, business and work visas, citizenship is usually obtained after 5-10 years of legal stay in the country – the legislation contains many options, the so-called visa routes, which often change. There are also faster ways: according to the Global Talent visa program, the British can be accepted in a year, in this way received citizenship Boris Akunin. But not everyone is so talented.
* Entered by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation into the register of foreign agents.