Russians are struggling to get UK visas – and it’s affecting British business, says Stephen Dalziel of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce
“Unless this is sorted out very soon, we are going to lose out on serious Russian contracts,” he adds.
“Russian business people are willing to pay more so they can get their visa processed in good time”
Stephen Dalziel, executive director of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce
The problem is that the British Embassy in Moscow can’t cope with the recent surge in demand for UK visas.
“At its peak this year, the visa section of the British Embassy in Moscow had 16,500 visa applications to deal with. They have only limited staff. And, even with the Visa Application Centre it couldn’t deal with them as quickly as it – or we – would like.
“I believe the system needs to be shaken up so that there can be a proper fast-track for business people,” Dalziel says.
“Russian business people are willing to pay more so they can get their visa processed in good time.
“Britain is losing business as a result of this delay. We have had concrete examples where companies have said to us ‘well, we’re not going to hold this meeting in London, we’ll have it in Paris, Berlin or other places where it’s easier to get a visa’.
“These people pay hotel and restaurant bills, and buy things – it helps the economy. And we are losing out on this economically and in terms of goodwill.”