Well things are heating up here as the temperature drops.
As a lot of you know, the plan for us when we arrived in the Netherlands was for Femke to get a job, and then I can get a residency permit. With this permit I would be allowed to work here for up to a year. At that stage we could renew the residency permit if we wanted to stay.
When we were in New Zealand I made several Skype calls to Dutch Immigration ensuring that we would be right as long as Femke had a job. We were assured this was the case. So after the New Zealand adventure ended and three weeks rest in Australia, we were off to Holland!
So skip to December 2008, Femke has a job, and I even have a local job offer as well through a friend of a friend. Awesome! Things are looking up! So we try to get the Residency Permit so I could start work ASAP, only to be told that no we can’t get it. Umm WTF? and why not? Because Femke’s contract is for 6 months and not 12 months. 12 months is required to qualify for a residency permit. Was this explained to us when we were in New Zealand. No. Hell no.
Surely they could be lenient? I mean 6 months? Fem’s a good worker. Every company she has worked for has been sad to see her move on. It’s practically ensured that she would get extended. Nope. they don’t budge nor do they care. Sigh. Wonderful.
So why is that? do they think that I would be fine for 6 months, and the suddenly after 6 months I would become like a leech on the Dutch government? Even offering assurances (backed by Fem’s parents) that I would not become a dole-bludging leech this has no effect.
So with my primary method of legally staying here now more sunk than the Titanic, what are my other options?
Sponsorship via Fem’s Parents? This will cost over 800 Euros and will only be for 6 months. Also I would not be able to work during that period. This is more like an expensive extended tourist visa. Umm.. no thanks.
Sponsorship via Femke herself? Again she needs a minimum of 12 months contract and earning more money she is currently on. So this is a no go.
The highly skilled migrant visa? If I get a job earning 47,500 Euros a year, I will qualify for this visa which will allow me to stay here. Only issue is that it is a very high amount to be paying someone (especially someone new), and the number of English speaking programming jobs is very small. Also to apply for this there is still a 2 months waiting period for this visa to be approved. Normally this visa would be used to entice people over from overseas. They could all the paperwork before they came here. So when the time came they could arrive, get off the plane and go straight to work.
I can try to give my resume to some agencies and see what happens. But with Christmas and new years very fast approaching, it seems that employers are not really going to be looking for new people until mid Jan 2009. But it certainly won’t hurt to try.
The work permit visa. This allows me to accept a job at a company after they have advertised a job for up to 6 weeks and shown proof that no local Dutch people could satisfy the role. This might be difficult for the company offering me the job as they have not advertised the role, but I am yet to hear from them. I can look for other jobs online that have already have been advertised and hope they are close to their 6 week date. But again it’s going to be slim picking with my inability to speak Dutch.
The worst case scenario is that my tourist Visa runs out and I have to return to Australia in early February. We’ll just have to see what happens. Cross your fingers for me!