Immigration Dramas

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This is part 2 of the first immigration drama post from about a month ago. If you have not read that first, you should to get the basic background info.

We thought that all Femke needed was a 12 month contract for her job and we would be set. After working at her current job for a few weeks, she asked her boss for the possibility of an extension for her contract. They said they would think about it because it’s against policy and apparently there is a fee associated with breaking a contract. Fem’s work understandably did not want to pay that fee. We said well.. maybe we could pay that fee? That might make your decision a bit easier?

After a few days (now early Jan 2009) they come back to us saying they can’t do it as it’s against their company policy. Even our offer to pay the contract renewal fee was denied. Sigh. So what happens now? Femke needs to find a new job ASAP and it needs to be a 12 month contract. Ok.. Hmm my tourist visa runs out on the 1st of February so time was starting to be against us. We thought looking for work on the usual channels would have a very very slim chance of getting a 12 month contract.

The chances of me staying in the Netherlands after February were starting to look very slim….

Marijke called up Immigration again to complain about the whole situation and also to see if there was any other option. There was one possibility which was to get a work permit through an Australian company. But we would have had to provided a reason for the Australian company to send me to the Netherlands to work (and in great detail too) so that ended up being a dead end. Even with me working through my own consultancy was an option not allowed.

With looking for jobs in the paper or the internet or agencies not really an option we turned to people we know. Thanks to Fem’s aunty, there was a job going at a local school where she works. Fem applied for that role, but the initial salary was too low (for what need as a minimum for the residency permit). Fem applied anyway with an email explaining the situation. Ok we’ll see how that goes.

A few days later, Auke also checked with his old work and they also had a job possibility that had both the right salary amount and a 12 month contract. Awesome! Fem met up with them on Monday the 12th of January and while there is a good chance of getting that job we are currently still waiting for the official response.

I also checked with the company that offered me work to see if the job was still available and thankfully it is!

While waiting to hear back from that company I knew this was going to be cutting it very close. My 1st of February deadline is looming fast. I thought it would be a great idea to go through the residency permit paperwork very VERY carefully to ensure that all other documentation we needed we had or could easily acquire.

It turns out there were some things we missed. I thought we could get a registered partnership to streamline the paperwork needed for the residency permit. But it turns out in order to get the registered partnership you need a residency permit?? Talk about a catch 22… Sigh.

So we had to go for the paperwork heavy option. I needed a “No record of Marriage” certificate that can only be received from Australia and also my full birth certificate (which also had to be issued within the last 6 months).

These two certificates also need an official apostille stamp of authenticity from the Australian department of foreign affairs and trade. Realising that this all should have been done in Australia before I left, I cursed my own stupidity and blind optimism at believing the NZ initial phone call saying that all we needed was Fem to have a job. Righto… so we have a 2.5 weeks deadline and I have to get documents from multiple Australian government departments AND get them shipped to the Netherlands in time. Sounds like a challenge!

Things I have learnt from this so far:

  • Assume nothing. Cross reference all requirements and paperwork. The Australian “she’ll be right mate” won’t work here.
  • if you are going to immigrate, check what papers you need BEFORE you leave the country.
  • Murphy’s law is very strong here. If an issue has two outcomes and one is bad/costly/inconvenient, then that will be the outcome that occurs.

So for the last 2 days now I have been reading web-pages and scrutinising PDF documents. This has also all occurred the day after I installed the Windows 7 beta as my primary OS on the laptop. (hey… I felt bored stupid daring). Luckily Win 7 is holding good promise as a worthy successor to Windows XP (I ignored Vista).

I am very lucky to have a very helpful and co-operative mother who is able to handle the running around to several government departments over the next week. After a few chat sessions and a lengthy Skype phone call things are progressing smoothly. Thanks very much for that! Also today Femke has made the official appointment with the Dutch Immigration on January 30th for the residency permit interview. (my flight out of Holland is on February 1st) We also don’t have any final word yet on if Femke has the 12 month contract job yet. So we are cutting this incredibly close.

Today we were able to get two of the six pieces of paper that are needed. My two certificates from Australia will be the hardest. The rest is just filling in forms so that’s not too bad.

We have both been in tough situations before, often avoiding disaster by the skin of our teeth. So wish us luck and hope that the document gathering that’s happening over the next 2 weeks goes smoothly and that Fem gets that job!

Fingers crossed! (again)

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