Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why US Immigration is worse than Studylink

Today I finally finally got my letter from Immigration saying my electronic form had been received, so I can get my work permit. It took 11 days, and was supposed to take 7-10.

I'm sure I have to send in more documents to them, and I looked all around the website but I couldn't find exactly what I needed to send in.

So I called Immigration, an already complicated system made more complicated by the fact that everything has to be said again in Spanish. Studylink has nothing on bureaucracy here.

For ages I waited while the blood drained away from my hand and it got tired.... Eventually there was a recorded message, in Spanish naturally. So I waited patiently as the message began to sound increasingly confused, before suddenly realizing that someone was actually talking to me in Spanish.

We went round in circles for a bit, while I tried to figure out her heavy Hispanic accent and she tried to figure out my odd New Zealand one. She asked why I was calling, and I gave her a big long explanation about how I couldn't work out what information I needed to send in. At the end of it, she said, "Could you please repeat that, ma'am, and speak louder and slower." I thought I was speaking reasonably slowly, but I think our phone makes things really quiet.

It turns out I don't need to send anything in unless they send me another letter asking for it. I don't know if that's right somehow, they tell you very clearly there are many more things to send in, so I will get everything ready to take when I get a biometrics appointment sent to me (everything here is all about biometrics, eww). I have no idea about how long that might take.

The worst thing is, that when I asked how long it might take for the California centre to process my work permit, she said they were still processing applications from December! So before they can get to me, they have to get through applications from December, January, and most of February. So it will definitely take at least three months.

*screams and has breakdown on the spot* I want a job!

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