becky_sharpe (becky_sharpe) wrote,


Дорогие друзья, я очень рада, что благодаря блогу познакомилась с пресс-секретарем посольства Великобритании Джеймсом Барбуром jamesabarbour. Рада представить его дневник. Джеймс написал дружелюбный ответ на мои воззвания. Под катом вы можете его прочесть. Следующим постом я выложу мой ответ на ответ. Сага растет на глазах, пройдет несколько лет, и, клянусь вам, она войдет в классические хрестоматии по PR-технологиям.

Дорогая Божена,

Извините за то, что я пишу на Английском языке. Но я хочу говорить как можно точнее, а я только студент русского языка

There are lots of issues here. Let's take them one by one.

Firstly, the performance of the UK's Visa system lately. It's been pretty poor. As I explained on the 'phone, the UK Border Agency has had IT problems which have brought the visa system to a halt more than once. I can only apologise for this. It's not deliberate, there's no intention to upset anybody or to worsen bilateral relations - in fact these failures have been global, affecting operations in many countries.

Again: To you, and everyone whose visa applications have been delayed: I'm very, very sorry. I want you all to be able to visit the UK and see what a great country we are. And UKBA are working to fix things quickly as they can. In the meantime can I please suggest that anyone applying for a visa allows as long as possible. As the website says, we aim to process 90% of applications within 15 working days, but we recommend that everyone allows 5 weeks. (while you're on the FAQ page, read the answer to the question "Can I get my money back if my application is refused or I withdraw it" - I'd be surprised to hear of a visa service anywhere in the world that doesn't apply the same rule). And take a look at the stats here: - when the tech works, we do pretty well.

Now let's talk about your own circumstances. I'm not supposed to discuss individual applications - it's a private matter between you and UKBA. But, since you've chosen to print the reason for your refusal, let's address it. By your own admission, your documents weren't submitted in English. They need to be. I don't make the policy, and I'm sorry if you find it inconvenient. But that's the policy, and it's clearly stated on the website.

You write that I was unhappy to be called at 1800 on a Friday. By my reckoning it was nearer 1900, but let's not quibble. What I actually said was that I was not happy with you calling on a Friday evening to shout at me. I think that's fair enough. Not that it's relevant, but when you called I wasn't resting, I was at an official function. I often work weekends and late into the evening.

You want to fly to London on 2 May. Nothing would make me happier. And I'll do what I can to help. Let me write my advice here:
1 - You need to apply for your visa asap. Fill in the online form today if you can. 1 May is a Public Holiday, so we only have four days. Even when the system works perfectly, that's a tall order. And you need to apply for a 6 month visa only I'm afraid - anything over 6 months will take a few weeks to process.
2 - I can ask my UKBA colleagues very nicely to prioritise your application. I have no influence over the decision to issue a visa or not, but I can try to ensure that your application will be looked at quickly.
3 - When you visit the Visa Application Centre, you need to take with you as much supporting documentation as possible, and it has to be in English. Again, I apologise if this is inconvenient. But that's they way the system works.
4 - I offer no guarantees. What I do offer is my word that I will do my best to help you in good faith.

You also criticise me for not having got to know you sooner. OK, fair enough, I accept the criticism. Moscow's a big place, with a vibrant media scene, and I'm working my way through meeting everyone. But let's turn that one on its head - you haven't exactly sought me out either, at least not until you had a visa problem. So let's accept that there's fault on both sides, and that none of this unfortunate saga would have arisen if either of us had made the effort to get to know the other sooner. And let's fix it.

Dialogue works. Public slanging-matches don't. Cooperative relationships are good. Personal vendettas, against me, my staff or my Embassy, aren't. We're not perfect, I admit that. Computers break. People make mistakes. I'm writing this to publicly apologise for that. Let's start again. Are you free for coffee on Monday?

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