Thursday, 11 August 2011

the visa saga

i've been here in singapore for a bit more than a month now. still don't have an employment pass, which is what they call the visa i need. for some fortunate reason, i got a 90 day social visitor visa upon arrival so i am still legal. kind of. just not allowed to work. which i am of course not doing.

about a month before leaving, we started filling in the 5,000 page application (ok, maybe not that many, but a lot of pages). it took about 300 years (ok again, maybe not a full 300 years, but quite a while). all done and the only thing left was to submit the application.

this is where it starts to get complicated, singapore style..

the application had to be submitted online. the company had to register for an online account. an admin user had to be appointed. this user had to be a freedman employee with a singaporean identity number. the user couldn't be registered as an admin user for another company. this is where the problems start. elyne, the appointed admin user and also the only freedman employee in singapore with a singaporean identity number, was already registered as an admin user for her former company. to de-register, someone from the former company had to sign a form. her old company is liquidated and there is no one to sign the form. she wrote a letter to the authorities explaining the special circumstances. didn't hear anything back. at all.

when nothing had happend after i'd been here for four weeks, i decided to go to the ministry of manpower, as it's called. they gave me a form, told me to fill it in and tick two boxes. i did and sent the form to london to be signed and that was it. easy, i thought. the next day they called me. my form had too many ticks and there was absolutely no way they could disregard one of them (not even after i explained they had instructed me to tick those two boxes). the new form also needed a new signature. everything else was fine. so i filled in a new form, sent it to london for signing and submitted. the following day they called me again. there was a form missing. no, nothing they could have told me the day before, they were only looking at the first form then.

anyway, on monday we received the pin code needed to activate the account. this is being done online, but the website is only available between 8am and 8pm, monday to friday.. yesterday was the national day and it was of course not accesible. elyne managed to activate the account yesterday. only to discover that the 5,000 page application had to be filled in again. i spent some time filling it in (as i had already filled it in before, it only took about 100 years this time), but the last step was to pay and figured i couldn't do that myself when elyne is the one who has to submit the application. so.. today, she logged in, payed and submitted the application!

all that's left now is to wait and if everything goes according to plan, i reckon i should have the visa before i leave.

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