Saturday, March 15, 2008

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

It wasn't, but this is starting to sound like some melodramatic novel with an unbelievable plotline you find in the 75% off bin, so maybe it's a fitting way to continue describing what happened next.

I got out of here as soon as I could yesterday as Petit Tresor had a big oaf friend sleeping on the couch. I took all my papers to the library and translated them. The papers we thought were confirming our residency were actually letters just confirming they'd received our application for residency. So we had nothing that we could show the consulate that we were residents. Dani emailed to say one of the girls she works with who has lived here for two years has never even heard of a residency card.

I emailed the consulate and outlined what we did have, that our work permit could not be granted without residency, that we have a tax file number, and could they confirm exactly what we needed to bring with us to the interview. They replied, ignoring the last bit, and said they can only issue us with a visa if we have proof we are residents. "When you get it, then you can apply".

At this point I realised, who actually are we? We are in some kind of limbo, waiting for a mythical residency card, but until then? Do we actually exist? Are we ghosts? Tax-paying ghosts? So I bit the bullet and called the IND (immigration department) and asked for our status. Coincidently, my letter confirming approval of my residency was sent the day before, while Dani's would be two days later. They would take up to two weeks to arrive, and then we take that letter to the IND and pick up the actual letter saying we are residents (just off the top of my head, you could just send that in the mail while you're at it). But he said I could probably just pick it up directly next week. My interview being in just over two weeks, I thought that should be ok. But since Dani's interview is this Tuesday, and the letter wouldn't arrive in time, I asked if I could come in and get a letter just confirming that she was approved for residency and that the letter is in the mail. He said that sometimes they can do this; I bunged it on, said we urgently had to leave to the UK, and that we couldn't change our interviews with the consulate. The phone was transfered to many colleagues, lots of putting on hold*, and the girl came back and said she would give us a 'return visa' that would allow us to come back within 3 months and that it would show the consulate that we are residents. She missed the point about it being a long-term visa that's up to two years. "That would be an Article 9 letter!" Then when she came back she said "oh don't worry, you are Australian and Australians don't need visas for the UK". When I convinced her we did, she came back and said she needed to discuss it further, and would call me back.

I hopped back on the consulate's interview booking page just to see our options since obviously Dani wasn't going to get anywhere on Tuesday and saw a whole new set of dates, and quickly changed Dani's interview for 28 March. I can't tell you how relieved I was! I never heard back from the IND, but that gives us both two weeks and hopefully both our papers will have arrived by then. Proving that we are residents so we can leave.

And they lived happily every after...not yet, but hopefully soon.

* Why is it when you're making an important phone call you only ever have one bar left on your battery?

1 comment:

Deep Kick Girl said...

Call me dumb but if you are applying for the UK visa as Australian citizens why does it matter about all this residency bullshit? If you were applying from Australia or Thailand or Timbuktu you wouldn't need this residency visa thingy so why do you need it now? This is very odd and confusing. You've probably noticed.