28 April 2008

Getting a Work Visa is like reading a Kafka Novel Backwards

There is so much paperwork involved in getting a visa de trabajo that it's practically criminal to even consider it. For those of you that are allergic to long winding corridors inside government buildings, you may want to turn your head because this is what we have to do to work and live in Argentina legally and it ain't pretty:

1. Get new passports since both of ours expire soon (but in order to do that, we had to go to CV today and buy eight passport photos--I'll explain that later--and also fill out a DS-82 form to renew our passports)

2. Fill out a Visa form that asks you really personal questions like "How big is your penis?" and "Why do you have such a big fear of commitment?" Okay, they don't actually ask that, but they might as well.

3. Six passport photos for the Work Visa, cuz you know, they have to staple your face to the calendar, Monday through Saturday. I mean, who the hell needs six photographs? Someone's got really sticky fingers.

4. Evidence of your immigration status, and I heart New York t-shirts do not count, I'm sorry to say.

5. Entry permit: this is where it gets really strange. In order to obtain an Entry Permit, your prospective employer has to go to the Argentine Immigration Authority known as the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones, Dirección de Admisión de Extranjeros, which takes a month and involves a number of documents that have to be notarized and taken to the colegio de escribanos before an entry permit can be issued, which Aldo will then have to send to us here in Chicago before we can fly back to Argentina.

6. Birth Certificate, and being born again does not count

7. Police Record that goes back at least five years written on official police stationary and no older than sixty days, proving that Erika and I don't smuggle little Bolivian children inside our giant backpacks. Well, we used to do that kind of thing, but thankfully it was six years ago so it doesn't really count

8. An International/National Criminal Records Affidavit, that, among other things, duplicates step 7 for no clear reason.

9. A $100 for a glorified sticker

10. A Contract of Employment stating the terms, pay, duration of employment, and how they conform to Argentine Labor Laws. This contract must be notarized at the Colegio de Escribanos in Buenos Aires, then sent to Chicago where Erika and I will have to present it to the Argentine Consul during our Visa Interview.

And that my friends, in 10 easy little steps, is how you lose your mind with Latin-American bureaucracy.


Anonymous said...

yeah, that's a problem and you're right.
But tell me..., do you know all the things ppl from latin america have to do to get the green card in the US? Same thing happens in the EU. Most of us in Argentina prefer to get EU passport first ;)

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...

That's true, and I have nothing but sympathy for people who are trying to get a green card in the US. But the economic reality is that there are more people trying to live/work in the US than almost any other country in the world. And that's only a result of the former immigration policy in the US, when the border used to be very porous, which helped attract some of the best and brightest people from all over the world. And frankly, if Argentina wants to really compete with that, then it can't be impossible for people with advanced degrees from great universities to work in this country. In the US, it's much easier to work if you have college degrees. In Argentina, on the other hand, one of our friends knew a Spanish professor who wanted to teach Spanish Lit at UBA, and it took the Argentine Minister of Education 9 months to approve her doctorate (homologar), and she still had take a number of classes in order to be qualified to teach literature here. This was a Spanish professor of literature from Madrid. And that's ridiculous. My g/f, who has 2 bachelor's degree, and has worked at one of the most prestigious hospitals in Chicago, couldn't work here until after her transcripts, nursing degrees, and references had been examined, translated + accepted, and there are lots of nurses here that don't have any degrees. That long, bureaucratic process does nothing to help the labor market in Argentina.