Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Visas, rather bad things

I remember all the hassle I needed to get through to get my visitor's visas to a whole bunch of countries when I went inter-railing in Europe. Fucking waste of time and daylight robbery it was (not the inter-railing, the visa-getting). Years later I was in Britain, and had to call the French consulate about getting a visa. They play you a fucking tape that lasts 14 minutes all the time my bloody phone card was ticking away. I had to get an early bus to London and wasted a whole day trying to get the fucking stamp on my passport.

Hate visas.

Now, B and the boys and Lisa are supposed to go to Britain in July, and B was doing the visa application thing for Lisa. On-line, after filling in the form, it says we have to pay $975. That is a lot of money. That is how much I will pay for a very nice pair of shoes; or I can buy 12 pairs of havaiana flip flops with that. So off Lisa goes, to the consulate. Only to be told that FIrstly, they don't accept cheques. Secondly, the application fee for her visa is $3200 not $975. Why is that so? Because she should be applying for a WORKING visa not a tourist visa.

We made it very clear that she is going on HOLIDAY, not going to WORK. Which is completely TRUE. B wanted Lisa to see his mum and dad's place, meet the dogs, walk the hills. However, those thieves over there up in their tiny office believe it is perfectly justifiable to think that a domestic worker in Hong Kong is obviously also a domestic worker in Britain, even if she is on holiday.

And by the way, even if a domestic helper is to go with her employers to Britain, in the capacity as an employee, she will not be on a British employment contract, would she? (Pardon my ignorance but why would she need an employment visa? Oh.... I see. You charge more for an employment visa. Sorry Sorry. Of course of course. Yes yes rather. You bunch of THIEVES!)

So B finally managed to speak to someone at the consulate and they explained that yes, you can still go ahead and apply for a tourist visa, yes, you can put forth your case and say that you domestic helper will not be doing any work when she is in Britain, but, sir, I wish to inform you that it is likely to be refused, and your $975 is non-refundable. So, can we apply for a working visa for her should the tourist visa be refused? Yes, you can still do that. That wouldn't affect her chances of getting a working visa. We will still very happily take your $3200.

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