International Visa Services Limited of London was wound up in the public interest in the High Court of Justice on 5 November 2019 before Deputy Judge Shekerdemian. The Official Receiver has been appointed liquidator of the company.
The court heard that International Visa Services was a web-based services provider incorporated in August 2015. It operated through a variety of different websites, including www.franceshengenvisa.co.uk and www.portugalschengenvisa.co.uk.
The company offered assistance with Shengen visa applications to UK-based customers, in return for a fee. Visa applications are available for free on embassy websites.
Customers would pass their personal information to International Visa Services, who then undertook to arrange appointments with the relevant embassies or consulates on their behalf.
When customers arrived at the embassies for these appointments, however, they were told that no appointments had been made. When they then tried to make their own appointments directly with the embassy, they could not as International Visa Services had used their details.
The court heard that several customers even believed that they had been dealing directly with the relevant embassy or consulate, not a third party.
Following complaints, the Insolvency Service began confidential investigations into International Visa Services.
Investigators reached out to the company director, Misha Sharma, but she refused to provide any information about the company. She was also only contactable via a third-party email address and telephone number. All information eventually obtained by investigators was secured from customers of the company.
The court wound up International Visa Services on the grounds that it traded with a lack of commercial probity. Misha Sharma’s failure to co-operate with investigators and the lack of transparency evidenced by the difficulty in contacting her were also factors.
Helen Cosgrove, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
International Visa Services had the audacity to charge customers for assistance using a free service – when help was readily available for free – and then not deliver on the promises they made.
Furthermore, Misha Sharma was wholly un-co-operative with Insolvency Service investigators seeking to uncover the truth of this situation. Thankfully the courts have now put a stop to this activity, preventing anyone else falling victim to their practices.
All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 16th Floor, 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London E20 1HZ. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
A Schengen visa is a short stay visa that allows a person to travel to any member country of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days. The Schengen area covers 26 European countries. Visas are required for nationals of third party countries who wish to visit the Schengen area.
International Visa Services Limited (09717774).
The petition to wind up the company was presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 on 11 September 2019 and the company was wound up on 5 November 2019.
Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Information about how to complain about a live company.
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- November 5, 2019 at 4:25 pm by Editor (displayed above)
- November 5, 2019 at 4:25 pm by Editor