Monday, May 08, 2006

Walk a while with me ...

I received a letter today, from the people who organise immigrants.

I have already completed all that they ask me to do in this leter.
I did it way back on September 29, 2005 ... although the overuse of the words like 'obligation' and the oft quoted 'you have to be prompt to present yourself' might have made me move a little more slowly.

Unfortunately, it appears they have no central data base for collating registrations by immigrants ... perhaps I'll get another wee uplifting letter in a few more months or perhaps they'll just come over and fine me.

Anyway ... the letter:

Dear Madam,
Dear Sir,

As you have only recently arrived in our country
(no actually, I've been here for 10 months and 'in process' for 8 of those months), the Flemish government draws your attention to the fact that it is your obligation to attend an integration programme. This will allow you to learn Dutch and receive a lot of useful information about Flemish society.

Among other things, your obligation implies that you have to be prompt to present yourself at the reception office. Upon your registration at the reception office, a contract mentioning the courses you should attend, will be drawn up with you. If, within three months of the registration in the municipality, you do not present yourself at the reception office or do not observe your contract, you may be sanctioned with a fine.

In some cases, you may be exempt from your obligation to attend an integration programme
... etc (yes, I am exempt because I have a university degree, we did this already)

(information about how to contact them)

We are confident that you will present yourself promptly at the reception office.

Yours faithfully

etc ...

It takes a lot to infuriate me ... but Gert had an enraged Kiwi on his phone just after I read through my mail.

But perhaps it's all just a big test and when I eventually find my way through the maze that is moving countries, there will be a big surprise party and gifts in the centre garden of Puzzleworld ...


harvey molloy said...

What a pain to have to go in to the office again!

Mark J said...

At least they care about their imigrants...I guess their only fault is not being organised enough to know which of their potential imigrants are keen enough to have already achieved those tasks.

Being angry is good every now and again - being angry at something specific is better - I wish I knew what I was angry about, because I'd love to have some focus in this area.

BTW - Where's my damn profile for findsomeone girl!!!! :)

Obviously you dont have to "publish" this reply :)

The Wandering Turk said...

Wow...that's really hard to believe. Is Belgian immigration bureaucracy truly as incompetent as they appear to be? You don't need to answer that if it's self-incriminating - just say something uniquely Kiwi :-).

woman wandering said...

i'm not going back to the office harvey, i'm going to write a polite and fact-filled email ... you can imagine the tone.

care about their immigrants, mark ...?? uh huh, they so do, if you overlook the 'present yourself promptly at reception' demand.

i almost fell off my chair laughing when i read your query about your c.v ... it's on my desk next to my keyboard. :) i'll do it today, you have witnesses now.

a kiwism ... perhaps i'll use the one michelle invented. she was a uni friend, she looked so sweet and then every now and again, in moments of extreme irritation or frustration, she would come out with 'bloody buggary bollocks!!!'.

farmtalk and yet so beautifully expressive' it feels like it works for me in this situation.

Alison said...

Andrew and I each got that exact letter... although no one mentioned the uni exception... maybe we can get out of it yet :)

woman wandering said...

well, you must have done all this too, they know you exist, you registered, and as andrew is working for an american company and therefore, not an immigrant ... well good grief, what is that about???

and yes, a university degree makes you exempt. there was a time when i wanted to do that integration course but i know more than gert about antwerp these days and i resent being threatened with fines ... so grumpy i am.

Dobermann said...

Di, I have a suggestion: pack your bags with Gert and move up here. It's lot easier for you and Gert doesn't need any permits since he's EU citizen. lol I can even try to put your application on top of the pile! ;)

In here we have one central database and if tthe info is not there, it "doesn't exsist". The draw back is that the decicion is 3 part and you need to send all needed papers to the authority who is AT THAT TIME processing your application. If sent to anyone else, it will stall the process until the documetns have been sent on to the processing department.

woman wandering said...

What was that doberman ... it looked strangely like something called 'hope' ... I vaguely remember it, back in the days when I was told my application would be no problem ... 6-8weeks, with maybe another 4 weeks for the professional card.

I'm glad that somewhere in Europe there is a place that has a process that works.

I wrote a letter to the people who sent me that letter and the response is too complicated to explain here. They're phoning me today ... I'll try and post on it when it's all done.

Dobermann said...

I think that you should definately write a BOOK about it. Seriously, just write about your experience. It will be great story: there's romance, tragedy, comedy, suspense! And I know it'll have happy ending.

It will be long book though, maybe even a series. ;)