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FMS To Legalize Passport Market


The Federal Immigration Service has decided to find a way to benefit from some $10 billion that it says was earned by people illegally working to speed the processing of work visas and passports for overseas travel.

The Government Commission on Administrative Reform under Vice-Premier Sergei Sobyanin approved the idea to create a federal unitary enterprise within the Federal Immigration Service which will offer express processing for the immediate creation of these same documents. Right now, illegal vendors with corrupt ties to the FMS are the only ones providing these document services.

A member of Sobyanin’s Commission and another official close to its leadership reported on the anticorruption initiatives the commission is undertaking.

FMS spokesman Konstantin Poltoranin added that the Security Council also has made a decision regarding the official program for formation of these documents. “A situation where middlemen and corrupt officials work together on such government services is unacceptable,” he stated angrily. “The system should be transparent.” According to the FMS, the market for services pertaining to migration documents is worth $10 billion annually. That is money that could be going to the government treasury, Poltoranin lamented.

An experimental program for offering these document services for a fee is planned to start in Moscow in September.

According to Vladimir Yuzhakov of the Center for Strategic Development, the return to creating enterprises which earn money from government services is a rejection of the government's stated goals of administrative reform. These include the clear division of government and business and the reduction of administrative barriers.. He also stated that it will not be the government that will receive the revenue, but rather the officials who will initiate and hold a monopoly on providing the services.

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