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Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia
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Author:  Kevingerbs [ 15 Oct 2011 21:42 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

As a welfare rights advisor working in Higher Education my questions are related to the Education (student support) Act 2009 Amd. Also to the Immigration act
relating to International students Teir 4 Visa's (Points based system).
Visa's and extensions based living costs (and fee payment).
I was asking for consessions for International students where there is an interuption of cash flow due to natural disasters (we have had a few of these this year eathquakes, flooding, tsusami's etc).
Recorded in Hansard: response from the Home Office Minister Damien Green at ... #g21422.q0

...well they are virtually financing the higher education system in the UK.
And contibute over £5 billion to the UK economy. [clap.gif]

Wife is in the UK currently doing a Masters degree at UCL and freelancing as a teacher of Russian in the financial & legal sector. [veryhappy.gif]

Author:  wiz [ 16 Oct 2011 17:59 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Well done for your efforts to the students.......

Is there any chance of you posting a travel report and telling us all about your Russian adventure?

It is very nice reading about other peoples experiences, and also a learning curve for any new members. I hope you will have the time and also the will to write and let us know.

Thanks in advance.

Author:  wiz [ 18 Nov 2011 09:26 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

No Road Map on EU Visa Deal

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov put a damper Thursday on hopes that an agreement on lifting cumbersome visa requirements between Russia and the European Union would be reached anytime soon.

Following a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Lavrov stood firm in insisting that negotiations on scrapping the visa regime can only begin when a so-called common steps agreement on what requirements are needed has been fulfilled.

Lavrov and Ashton told reporters in Moscow that they hoped an agreement will be sealed at a summit in Brussels next month, but Lavrov's comments suggested that the two sides were still far apart.

"We agreed that once all those common steps are implemented, we'll start negotiating an agreement for a visa-free regime," he was quoted as saying by Interfax.

In one concession, Lavrov indicated that Moscow has dropped its demand for a road map with a clear time frame. A senior diplomat had said earlier Thursday that Moscow won't sign any agreement if not given a road map.

"Without a clearly defined perspective, we won't agree," ambassador-at-large Anvar Azimov told Interfax.

But EU officials have been adamant that Moscow first has to meet a large number of conditions before setting a time limit.

"There cannot be an automatism," Soren Liborius, spokesman for the EU delegation to Russia, told The Moscow Times.

He stressed that the common steps would be a "long list" of conditions that would have to be met by both sides.

The conditions have not been published, but officials have said they will range from technical issues like biometrical passports and secure outer borders, to legislative ones like asylum policy agreements ensuring that illegal migrants can be readmitted to their last host country.

"That's where the real work has to be done," Liborius said.

Visa policy gained salience in relations with Europe after Spain launched an initiative last year to liberalize travel restrictions with Russia. The Kremlin subsequently pushed Brussels on the issue, and Lavrov has said regularly that Moscow is ready to abolish visas "tomorrow."

Read more:18 November 2011 By Nikolaus von Twickel -The Moscow Times. [click-me.gif] .

MY COMMENTS: Usual Russian propaganda...... when anybody can understand that is the Russians who stall ........ because or the illegal stayers. They don't want to sign the agreement that they must accept back anybody who travelled illegally or overstayed their visa, to the EU.

That is not surprising, because from what we can see, is that the Russians don't make any effort to make the process of getting a visa to Russia any easier, on the contrary.


Author:  Luckyspin [ 02 Jan 2012 07:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Russia and the EU approve visa agreement
as EU parliament slams elections

Russia and the European Union have ushered in a new era of visa-free travel. Russian negotiators hope that the first stage of the process will take no more than a year. At the same time, the lifting of visa requirements will be conditionally based on Russia’s observance of human rights, freedoms and the rule of law.


It remains to be seen when Russia and the EU will cancel the visa requirements for short-term
trips by Russian and EU citizens. Pictured: Russian citizens submitting their visa
applications in the British Embassy in Moscow. Source: Kommersant Photo

Following lengthy discussions, the EU-Russia summit held in Brussels on Dec. 14 and 15 approved a list of mutual steps to cancel visa requirements for short-term trips by Russian and EU citizens. “This is a solid and ambitious text. We are now working towards our shared goal of approving the list of joint steps and beginning to implement them at the summit,” said Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

In the final draft of the document, Russia and the EU agree to implement under mutual control a broad list of “joint steps” divided into four sections. The first section, titled, “The protection of documents including biometrics,” covers the introduction of biometric passports that meet the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization. It also obliges the parties to ensure rapid and regular transfer to Interpol the details of lost and stolen documents as well as to exchange information pertaining to fake passports. Among other things, Russia and the EU have agreed to boost anti-corruption measures, including the ethical standards for government officials related to the identification management system.

Another section, “Illegal immigration including readmission,” focuses on joint efforts to fight illegal immigration and related offenses. Russia and the EU are working to develop a data collection and analysis system in order to assess border management risks.

This section also provides measures against document falsification and corruption amongst public border protection employees. The section “Public order, security and legal cooperation” lays out a mechanism for fighting cross-border crime, terrorism and corruption. Lastly, the section “External relations” is devoted to ordinary citizens by pointing out the need to ensure freedom of movement for Russian and EU nationals on an equal basis and to cooperate in pursuing an anti-discrimination policy, protection of persons belonging to minority groups and the fight against hate crimes.

The responsibility for managing and implementing these commitments falls equally on Russia and the EU, which means that they both will be able to control their mutual compliance with the given measures. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, joint steps do not have to be signed, and so Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy simply announced their launch.

Both Russia and the EU consider the completion of the document a major achievement. Throughout the past month, diplomats have worked not on the content of the steps so much as they have on the wording of follow-up measures.

In the end, the final draft features compromises and somewhat uncertain wording: “As soon as the joint steps have been implemented, the parties, in accordance with their internal procedures, will decide on starting negotiations on an agreement to lift visa requirements.” Translated from diplomatic language, this means that while Moscow is prepared to start the negotiations at any time, the EU will need to confirm its position with all of its member states first.

Russian diplomats believe that it will take approximately a year to implement all of the provisions in the document. “We hope that implementation of joint steps will not take too long,” said Special Ambassador Anvar Azimov. “Throughout the year, we might share with our EU partners information on implementing the joint steps in order to start working on the visa-free travel agreement in a year’s time.”

Meanwhile, the approved document contains one phrase that might effectively destroy all of Moscow’s efforts to secure visa-free European travel: The final section of the document states that when discussing lifting visa requirements, the parties will take into account "interrelations between the evolution of migration flows and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as compliance with the rule of law.” This primarily refers to Russia, where the situation with respect to human rights protections and the rule of law is far from ideal by EU standards. Indeed, this is confirmed by the EU’s reaction to Russia’s parliamentary elections earlier this month. The EU Parliament recently issued a statement saying that the elections did not meet international standards as “free and fair,” and called for Russia to hold new elections as soon as possible.

First published in Kommersant daily December 13, 2011by Vladimir Solovyov, Yelena Chernenko, Kommersant

Author:  wiz [ 07 Mar 2012 15:00 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Vladimir Putin wrote:
I believe that genuine partnership between Russia and the European Union is impossible as long as there are barriers that impede human and economic contacts, first and foremost visa requirements. The abolition of visas would give powerful impetus to real integration between Russia and the EU, and would help expand cultural and business ties, especially between medium-sized and small businesses. The threat to Europeans from Russian economic migrants is largely imagined. Our people have opportunities to put their abilities and skills to use in their own country, and these opportunities are becoming ever more numerous.

In December 2011 we agreed with the EU on "joint steps" toward a visa-free regime. They can and should be taken without delay. We should continue to actively pursue this goal.

From the article, by Putin, posted on the Forum FSU News.

Obviously he is referring to the information on the previous post.

In a conversation that I had, a while ago, with an official from the EU he has confirmed the details and in his view, hopefully, they will start the implementation of the Visa free regime by the end of this year!

I hope he is right and both, the EU and Russia, will not create any more problems and abolish the visa requirement for EU citizens, as also for Russians. [fingerscrossed.gif]

Author:  wiz [ 30 Mar 2012 19:16 ]
Post subject:  Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

EU Visa Agreement Held Up by 'Official' Passport Holders Argument

An agreement between Russia and the European Union to ease visa requirements for travel between the EU and Russia is being delayed due to a lack of consensus on the issue of granting visa-less entry to holders of so-called "official" passports, a Kommersant report said Wednesday.

The two sides are close to completing an agreement that would make five-year multi-entry visas standard for members of official delegations, businessmen, participants of scientific, cultural and sporting events and exchange programs, journalists, and truck and bus drivers with international routes, Kommersant reported. The accord would also make it possible for repeat visa applicants to receive five-year visas.

But completion of the agreement is being held up by EU concerns over Russia's insistence on granting visa-less entry to holders of official passports, which in Russia are given to a range of state employees, including consulate employees, members of the armed forces stationed abroad, federal and regional civil servants, employees of state corporations, and workers at state organizations, including the Central Bank, the presidential administration and the State Duma. There are currently around 15,000 holders of such passports in Russia, according to official data, Kommersant reported.

An unnamed EU diplomat told the daily that Brussels is concerned that such passports are granted to more people than they are supposed to be.

"Receiving an official passport in Russia, as in the majority of EU countries, is easier than [receiving] a diplomatic one. We have doubts regarding the observance of rules for issuing such documents," the source said.

An unnamed Foreign Ministry source told Kommersant that the issue was "fundamental."

Talks with the EU on the issue of visa rules restarted earlier this month, when experts from both sides initiated discussion of the "common steps" program approved at an EU-Russia summit in December. Visa-free travel with most of the EU should be introduced in 2014, the year of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Foreign Ministry official Anvar Azimov said last week.

Read more:Moscow Times 29 May 2012]

Author:  wiz [ 22 Jun 2012 14:41 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Tortuous Path to Visa Agreement With EU

Meanwhile, Moscow's talks with the European Union about liberalizing travel restrictions have dragged on for years, in large part because of disagreements within the 27-member bloc.

Both sides agreed in December to start a "common steps" process, basically a list of more than 40 conditions ranging from border infrastructure to passport safety.

Moscow has said it expects to meet those conditions by next year, after which negotiations about abolishing visas altogether could start.

Putin called for fast progress on visa-free travel with the EU during a Russia-EU summit in St. Petersburg earlier this month.

But EU officials have reacted cautiously to Russian officials' comments that visas would be scrapped in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In reality, Russian citizens already face different treatment depending on the EU country that they apply to visit.

EU countries that want to attract more Russian visitors, such as Spain and Italy, have started giving three- to five-year multiple-entry visas to second-time applicants, while those afraid of migration pressure, including Germany and some Eastern European members, handle visas much more restrictively.

Moreover, EU negotiations affect only Schengen zone members. Britain and Ireland, which opted to remain outside the open-border agreement, will remain untouched by any deals.

Russian travelers have responded by flocking to the consulates of countries with the friendliest policies. EU officials call this visa-shopping, and they don't like it.

After being flooded with applications this spring, French consulates reduced the application period to 10 days before travel.

More promising is a second set of negotiations now under way between Russia and the EU for a facilitation agreement that would introduce longer-term multiple-entry visas for some applicants, including businesspeople, journalists, scientists and students.

But these talks, too, have stalled, because Moscow has insisted on including "service passport" holders in the agreement. Also known as official passports, these documents are carried by members of federal and regional governments throughout Russia.

Many EU member countries do not have any equivalent for them.

This has alarmed some EU countries, which have raised security concerns, said a European negotiator, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

One of the skeptics' arguments is that Moscow cannot even say for sure how many people hold service passports.

"The estimates range from 10,000 to 40,000," the negotiator said.

Read more: The Moscow Times - 22 June 2012 By Nikolaus von Twickel .[click-me.gif].

Author:  lanaasta [ 06 Jul 2012 00:38 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Yannis, somewhere in the beginning of the thread you wrote "my wife was granted a Resident Card which gave her the right, not only to reside in the UK with entitlement to work freely but also to FREE National Health Care and other state benefits" Is this a UK-only thing or something from the directive 2004/38/EC?

In France, while my British husband has a carte vitale and thus gets access to free health care, I have to pay for a private health insurance until I get employed.

Author:  wiz [ 06 Jul 2012 10:15 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

lanaasta wrote:
Yannis, somewhere in the beginning of the thread you wrote "my wife was granted a Resident Card which gave her the right, not only to reside in the UK with entitlement to work freely but also to FREE National Health Care and other state benefits" Is this a UK-only thing or something from the directive 2004/38/EC?

In France, while my British husband has a carte vitale and thus gets access to free health care, I have to pay for a private health insurance until I get employed.

The Directive says exactly what you and your husband, have to do...... you must have health insurance.

Here in the UK, we should have followed the same way but...... depends which Town and Doctor you are registered. They decide if you get Free healthcare or not....... and implementing the directive correctly is another matter.

Some people get troubles........ even following the National rules when husband is British.

We were very happy that our Doctor accepted Hanna and we did not have had to have a health Insurance. My wife, after a year has started working, pay taxes and National insurance contributions ..... so she is covered under her own right.

BTW she did not used the Health service during the period of unemployment ..... typical RW, doctors are no good......... [blah.gif]

We still have an argument before taking her to the doctor, or dentist! Russian Woman doesn't like Doctors....... [blah.gif] [blah.gif]

Author:  wiz [ 17 Jul 2012 08:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: Abolishing the Visa requirement for Russia

Moscow wants to go visa-free
A proposal would allow foreigners to visit the Russian capital for three days without a visa.


Russian authorities are set examine the idea of turning Moscow into a visa-free zone. Authors of the initiative claim that the measure would add 120 billion rubles to the city budget. Experts agree that such a visa regime might encourage business in Moscow, but Russia’s special services are unlike to give the green light to a visa waiver in the capital.

Sergei Cheremin, head of the Moscow’s department for foreign economic and international relations, announced the plan, which would allow foreigners to stay in Moscow without a Russian visa for up to three days. Vadim Zelensky, chairman of the Association of Business Tourism Agencies, called the initiative “positive.”

The visa regime holds back the development of tourism. If this initiative complies with the legislation and legal practice, it is a brilliant idea and an excellent PR move. Many will learn about this and, if Moscow manages to make the most of the idea, it can be tuned into a promotion campaign for Moscow as a place welcoming all sorts of tourist. Tourists naturally bring money to spend and the city will be reaping revenues from taxes,” Zelensky said.

Political expert Dmitry Oreshkin, however, argues that the idea would be very hard to implement.

“It is very important as a signal that the authorities are aware that visa procedures impede economic expansion. Moscow is making just half a step, but I don’t think it will be allowed to make such a move. The Interior Ministry will not allow it, for it likes to have things under control. The FSB won’t allow this, for it likes to have things under its control even more. We need to cancel visas if we want to encourage business. If we want to keep our uniqueness, which is terrified of foreign influence, then we must build an iron curtain, which our special services keep doing now just out of habit,” Oreshkin said.

The Foreign Ministry has already said that a visa-free regime for Moscow might affect the talks over visa waiver for Russia with other countries.

July 13, 2012 - Konstantin Tkachenko, Kommersant FM

[blah.gif] [blah.gif] [blah.gif]

I just wonder when finally the Russian authorities will come to realise the benefits that tourism brings to a country and how much money, new jobs and Foreign investment in the country they are loosing.

I think he sited the problem in his last comment that I have highlighted!

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