Who blocks the visa-free entry to Ukraine?
On the one hand, there are many absurd moments, on the other, there is some progress in comparison with everything that happened for the past 25 years
Read the original text on Evropeiska Pravda.
#NoVisaToUkraine campaign, launched by civic activists, began to produce results - visa problem, which has been destroying the image of Ukraine in the world for a long time, was included to the agenda of state power.
We recall that in this case it is not about giving visa for Ukrainians, but the reverse process (although they are indirectly related).
Currently, citizens of many wealthy countries, from the sheikhs of the Persian Gulf to the Australians, who want to do business in Ukraine, should not only undergo a complicated bureaucratic procedure (Schengen problems Ukrainian did not go to any comparison), but often have to bribe or pay semi legal tax.
Friday, March 4, Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an interagency meeting on the issue of visa liberalization for foreigners.
A detailed report with unexpected details, which are frankly impressive, are published with permission of Bohdan Lohvynenko, author of #NoVisaToUkraine Campaign.
So, what happened at the inter-agency meeting on new rules of entry for foreigners? This text contains many letters for those who really wants tounderstand the situation.
MFA looked great, it was aimed at dialogue and change the rules, they soon to introduce visas online submission, the Department of Tourism of Ministery of Economic Development is working on liberalization and tourism development, State Border Service, which over the last year has learned to scan biometrics is very important.
Instead, Foreign Intelligence Service honestly admited that it was very poorly prepared.
Russian-speaking representative of the Security Service of Ukraine proposed to introduce criminal responsibility (!) for those who host a foreigner. The idea was notagreed by the first three departments and managed to bring this subject to compulsory insurance.
Under the new rules, the State Migration Service no longer issues the invitation, it can be done by the notary, and that is great progress, however, Migration Service is issuing residence permits and this process creates a fair corruption in the field, we have dozens of complaints from foreigners about the abuse in this structure. Very few foreigners are willing to talk about it.
Most of them are afraid at all Migration Service is a law enforcement structure. Their lives depends on this institution.
Migration Service spoke at the meeting for discipline. I put some simple questions to which the representatives of the Service asked: "Are you a understand the representative of the public? Ah, everything is clear". No answer sounded and representative of Ministry of Economic Development had to repeat my question again.
State Migration Service advocated for maintaining immigrant visa D in 45 days, while liberalizators offer twice as long.
In Europe, this type of visa can be obtained for the whole year, but a representative of the Service had actually his own impression of the EU: "If you are entering Europe at the wrong hotel, which you did not book - after 20 seconds, their migration service knows it, and you migh never get visa again"!
Nonsense, which was immediately appealed.
In general, a lot was said at a meeting of EU experience and effectiveness and mythologizing absence lacked at least one representative of the EU itself.
The cost of visas performed by the Finance Ministry. Under the new rules, they will be $ 65. It is still expensive, but even this price is given easy.
The position of the Ministry of Finance recalled the five-year plan of the Soviet Union. The representative of the department said that the budget "loses" the profits of visas, so they are categorically against visa facilitation and to reduce rates. Presented arguments that we have to fight for the tourism sector and every tourist budget provides more than the official fees for visa
MinFin hidden benefits but does not count, it is important to plan "for the collection" was made.
Director of the Consular Department of the Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Ministry is not a firm and it cannot give financial results.
Number of visas issued in 2011 fell from 150 thousand to 50. Number of visas issued fell even in the year of Euro 2012. Interdepartmental absurdity reached such a peak that, for example, the Chamber raised the case against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for what in 2005 was abolished visa requirements for EU, USA, Canada and Japan, and therefore our budget "underpaid". Even to take a visa-free regime with Chile Foreign Ministry had six months to explain that 10 thousand dollars on visas for the budget - a dime and is much larger benefits to the country visa-free regime.
What are we offering?
Before the presentation of the Minister's representative left the meeting, and representatives of LCA started talking on the phone. In between presentations they openly declared that they no longer have the time, and came out.
1. Align EU and the U.S. visa to Ukrainian one.
That is, everyone with European or American visa can come to Ukraine without a visa. Foreign Ministry supports this position and developed earlier a decree, which must now approve the transfer of departments and to the President. In the EU and US visas they offer visas Ireland and Japan. This will simplify the entry, for example, for all Africans or Asians that are going on tour in Europe and do not have time to do additional visa.
2. A list of 15 countries where GDP is three times higher than ours, and which the Georgian scenario can unilaterally cancel the visa.
"Ukraine is not Georgia," said the representative of the Foreign Intelligence Service. Foreign Ministry expressed the view that this requires political will, such as in Georgia.
With some countries there are consultations. We will ask the Foreign Ministry to make a plan and visa facilitations negotiations and help them prepare it in a presentation to the public.
3. Negotiations with Albania and Malaysia, to abolishe visas for 30 days, are maintained. In unilaterally regime Foreign Ministry cannot cancel the visa, because of the two countries negotiating the 90-day mutual contrast.
4. We offered some type of visa or immigration program for special, talented, rich and professional people.
This is the world practice, which does not exist in Ukraine. The British must pay $ 1,400 for a working visa for a year (this price for the visa is a response to Ukraine just as high visa fees for Ukrainians in Great Britain).
The state should encourage contrary inflow professional community to Ukraine. Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the number of visas are simplified to the European standard instead of the US, though the program may be of interest to us and asked her to write and submit a review. Therefore, all interested in this initiative - Get involved.
5. Legalization of foreigners and extension of visas in Ukraine.
Foreigners often do not want to be illegal, but they do not have a chance to extend the visa in Ukraine and sometimes are not able to leave.
What does state do in this case? Turns them into criminals.
Another situation where a person in Ukraine found a job or married and wants to apply for a visa - he needs to go, say back to Tunisia again to obtain a visa and pass the whole procedure there. We propose to change this. Foreign Ministry Consular Department maintains and will be consulted.
6. We proposed to increase visa on arrival from 15 to 30 days and reduce the cost to $ 50.
Nothing happens with the cost, and the duration from 15 to 30 days, the Foreign Ministry pledged to increase in the new rules.
7. Publicity of statistics on issued visas and failures. Now there are statistics on issued visas only - no public statistics failures. Foreign Ministry agreed to the proposal.
8. The standards of appearance and consular offices.
The presence of clear and accurate information on the table for the submission of documents, the campaign against corruption, phone and mails for communication. Foreign Ministry promised to introduce standards that exist currently and found that the field they are not always able to control the implementation of these standards.
We proposed to include international foundation to create and print high quality and clear infographics for consular and simple design and pleasant design. Get involved in the process - we need fundraisers, designers and print shops that are willing to work on the image of the country.
9. The last point, we review some of the proposed areas of responsibility.
For example in Afghanistan, there is no Ukrainian consulate, for Afghans it is a problem to get to the consular office in Kabul from uncontrolled territory of Pakistan and it would be easier to take for a visa in Delhi. Foreign Ministry agreed to review some areas of responsibility and we are consulting. It is possible to link several countries in multiple consulates. Any constructive proposals and suggestions accepted.
That's the story, friends. No victory and no betrayal.
On the one hand, there are many absurd moments, on the other, there is some progress in comparison with everything that happened for the past 25 years.
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