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Svetlana Novikova knew it could be a lucrative business. In St. Petersburg, the foreign men who rented apartments through her real estate business relentlessly hounded Mail order bride from russia to introduce them to her girlfriends. So four years ago, the entrepreneurial Novikova established Svetlana Agency, a Russian mail-order-bride service.
She was so successful, she expanded her business recently into one of the more financially fertile U. Petersburg native who moved to Newport Beach in September. Russian women are very family-oriented. Every man wants to have a cozy home. The Svetlana Agency is one of a of Russian matchmaking businesses enticing foreigners into marriages as many young women there seek to escape hardships. Russia, for them, has an uncertain political future, a dire economy and high rates of unemployment and alcoholism. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is close to completing a report to Congress on fraud and physical abuse in the mail-order-bride business and how to regulate the industry, said INS spokesman Bill Strassberger.
Novikova said she decided to bring her business to Newport Beach because she had many Southern California clients. Just in the last two months since the agency opened its doors across the street from Fashion Island, she said, she has been flooded with requests from spouse-seeking bachelors. Barry Hallamore, 59, of Costa Mesa said he had dated frequently since his divorce 11 years ago but found that many of the American women he met were too focused on his wallet.
After living in St. Petersburg for four years on business, he said, he decided to look for a wife. Hallamore, who married Yelena in Mexico last month, is waiting for Mail order bride from russia immigration service to grant a visa to his year-old bride so she can him here. Americans can bring their spouses home on an immigrant visa or can obtain fiance visas for their intended mates. The documents allow immigrants to live and work here for two years. After that, if the marriages are still intact and the couple is still living in America, the foreign spouses can gain permanent residency.
The women trying to find American husbands are mostly professionals in their early to late 20s and sometimes have children, Novikova said. The Internet has helped ease initial introductions, and most matchmaking agencies--including Svetlana--list their services on the Web. American men, Novikova said, are more family-oriented and tend to appreciate their wives more than Russian men. Petersburg as they explain in heavily accented English what they are searching for in a man. Novikova said she does not do background checks on the eager bachelors.
They are sent here by their mothers, friends, brothers and even secretaries. While the prospective brides can be seen via video conferencing, the men must fly to St. Petersburg once they have decided on a few they would like to meet. Svetlana Agency organizes the trips. Mike Potter, an aircraft inspector who lives in Tustin, is in the process of finding a Russian bride.
He is planning on visiting St. Petersburg in January to meet nearly a dozen women with whom he has been corresponding. As part of the Immigration Reform Act, Congress asked the INS to document cases of fraud and physical abuse involving mail-order brides. Congress also asked the INS to begin drafting regulations that would force agencies to inform women about marriage fraud, legal residency and domestic violence.
Herbert Kohl D-Wis. Prosecutors in family violence units in Orange and Los Angeles counties said they have had no reports of abuse involving mail-order brides, but they say that immigrant women commonly face the threat of deportation in abusive relationships. Jane Shade said. This month, Svetlana Agency is planning to hold a special Christmas party in St.
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From Russia With Love: Mail-Order Bride Service