Getting a new passport (ID-card) must be easy and convenient.
Experts of the Reanimation Package of Reforms and the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform are concerned about the situation with the legal provision for the conditions of acquiring a new identification document (passport in the form of an ID-card) and the use of this document. Amendments to the draft law №3224 that would improve the passport legislation are currently being ignored by the Committee on Information and Communication, which was questionably appointed as subject committee.
Should these fundamental amendments fail to be taken into account, the following effects of adopting the draft law 3224 may be predicted:
- The legalization of the parasitic structure of the state enterprise “Document,” whose work has been illegal for the past three years. The enterprise unlawfully receives UAH 350 for each passport issued through the offices of the “Passport Service,” which means the state budget loses hundreds of millions of hryvnias in revenue.
- The fee for passports is still opaque and dependent on the monopoly entity. Thus, citizens will continue to pay several charges determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the producer of passports (“Ukraine” Printing and Publishing).
In addition, both provisions violate the Law of Ukraine “On Administrative Services” which:
- a) prohibits business entities from working with administrative services (i.e. SE “Document”);
- b) requires that every fee for administrative services be determined in the law (not by the Government) as one payment.
- Hundreds of millions of hryvnias are wasted in order to build the infrastructure for issuing digital passport-cards; in addition, the government, businesses, and various agencies will have to heavily invest in installing “readers” to read the new passports. It is unclear how long it will take to create such infrastructure. It gives no benefits to the public, as the combination of the digital signature with the passport is by far not the best technology for electronic services. In Ukraine, it would be enough to have a secure “plastic passport” or use two types of documents simultaneously (at the person’s discretion).
- The impossibility of implementing the decentralization of administrative services essential for the public and their integration in a single office (the Center for administrative services provision). Local authorities will not be able to effectively register the place of residence and act as the front office for issuing passports because they will have no equipment that works with the new passports, while new passports do not even include information about a citizen’s place of residence. The State Migration Service of Ukraine has refused to provide the equipment purchased with state funds to the CASPs. Therefore, to obtain a passport or change their place of residence, citizens will have to additionally visit State migration service units as well as use a certificate of residence in different situations.
The amendments were meant to address these and other threats and to minimize their negative effects on citizens. Without them, the “passport business” will remain thriving, and the public will continue to suffer from additional visits to officials, queues, and charges.
The Reanimation Package of Reforms and the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform recommend that MPs send the draft law №3224 for a second reading in the Human Rights Committee, taking into account the appropriate corrections in order to optimize the provision of passport services, ensure their maximum convenience for citizens, fairness and transparency in payment, as well as to restore lawfulness in the field of passport related administrative services.
Experts of the Reanimation Package of Reforms
and the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform