Second Passport, a leading immigration company, is coming up on its 10-year anniversary. So, CEO Yury Mosha sat down for an interview to discuss how his business has succeeded, and what plans he has for the future.
So, let us begin!
Where did the idea for Second Passport come from?
In Russia, I had my own media holding, as well as an investment company. Unfortunate circumstances had made me move to the United States, and once here, I started thinking about what I can do for work. As an immigrant myself, I had gone through the process and had to experience the first few days where you do not know what to do, where you have to go open a bank account alone and make appointments for yourself without knowing the language. I thought that there needs to be a company that specializes in social adaptation, which is exactly helping immigrants adapt to a new country. This was an open niche, as there were companies that helped with insurance and legal issues with immigration, however, there were no companies that had all of these services in one place. Second Passport, originally known as Russian America, was one of the first companies to offer this, and due to the concept being innovative, we immediately took off with our first few clients in 2011.
Why did you decide to change the name from Russian American to Second Passport?
The reason we rebranded was that we decided it was time to start working in other markets. We were already leaders in the American market, and we wanted to expand to other countries such as Germany, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, and others. However, to work with these countries under the name Russian America was not very logical, as this was associated with only Russia and America. So, the idea came to me to call the company Second Passport. An immigrant is coming to a new country, and sooner or later, they will gain citizenship in this country, which is where having a second passport would come from. Once we had the idea, we trademarked the logo and brand name. We were lucky with the brand logo, as it is the image on all passports, and it was open for trademark registration. We changed it around a little, but it is still widely recognizable.
So, what changed within the company when you rebranded it?
A lot changed once we rebranded to Second Passport. First off, we started making a greater income since we were offering different countries to clients that were interested in immigration. Previously, we would receive phone calls from potential clients asking if we work with Canada for example, and we would have to turn them down. Now, we are able to retain them as a client and offer services that fit their needs. We also started franchising our business, and we now have over 50 different franchises in places such as Moscow, Kiev, Tashkent, and others. We spend a lot of time and effort to create this network since each franchise brings in money for the company.
How does your hiring process work for your international employees?
We have the same hiring process as any company would. We publish hiring information on job listing websites and on our own page, to advertise that we are currently hiring. We have a lot of employees globally, and also in our central offices in New York and Warsaw. We are always looking for qualified specialists, and even in our main office, we have a saying how if a client we work with is intelligent, we will hire them. Truthfully, most of our employees were once our clients.
How do you manage your franchises?
For our franchises, I try to be very involved. I have an interest in making sure that the franchise is performing well, and that they are earning as much of a profit as possible. We train all franchisees and work with them throughout the process to make sure we answer any questions that they may have. We teach them everything we know when it comes to the Second Passport business model, and make sure they are performing well, as this is a part of our brand. We consider all employees family, and we take care of our family.
What are your 2021 goals for the company?
By 2021, we plan on opening another 50 franchises, making it so we have over 100 different franchises in total for our company. We also want to open more central offices in different countries as well such as Moscow and Kiev. In 2020, we actually opened a new office in Miami, despite the pandemic. The goal for 2021 is to expand the business even more and to consistently grow our client base.
What has been your most interesting client story? How have you helped them?
We have a lot of clients, however, some of the most interesting stories that I have seen are when clients move to a new country with a small amount of money and manage to make something of themselves. We had a client from Ukraine, who came with exactly $500, and now he owns three personal trucks for his trucking business. There are a lot of stories such as this one, and I am always happy to see it. Mostly all it takes is how much a person is willing to really work and create a life for themselves.
Where do you see immigration to the most (besides the U.S.)?
Of course, America is the top place that our clients want to immigrate to, as there is a reason it is the top country to move to. However, after the U.S., we have a lot of clients that immigrate to Canada, the Chez Republic, Poland, Great Britain, and others.
Why did you decide to have your central office in New York City?
I personally moved to New York in 2011 and started my life in this city. Also, New York is considered to be the center of the world, and since we are a company that helps people move anywhere in the world, it is symbolic for us to have the main office here. We are proud of the fact that we have an office on Wall Street, right next to the NYSE. All of these factors are a positive influence on our business, and only inspire me to want to work even more.
Has your company been affected by COVID-19 due to limited travel, or has immigration not been impacted?
Yes, our business has suffered slightly due to COVID-19 since the borders were closed. However, we did not a very large negative impact, and thankfully now borders are beginning to open. We are helping clients get their visas currently and those clients who are immigrating to countries that have closed borders are still interested in immigrating, they just have to wait longer now. In the meantime, we work on documents for them and get what is possible done to speed up the process. If anything, COVID-19 has caused an increase in immigrants who live in countries such as Russia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, and other Eastern European places to want to leave. They realized just how much their governments do not care about them, as they did not help them at all during the pandemic, and the medical field in those countries is not strong. So, if anything, I think that once borders are fully open and the pandemic ceases, we will have an influx of immigration, which is great for our business.
To learn more about the work that Second Passport is doing, visit their website.