… through bureaucracy.
Bureaucracy is one of those words that I have to think very carefully about when I am writing it down. Previously, this never seemed like much of an issue. I never had call to write it with enough frequency that the time it takes me to work out how all the vowels line up had any real impact on my day.
Now, with my daily dose of paperwork, stamps, signatures, scans, originals, and visa runs I am ranting about the red tape that is wrapped around this beige country so often I think if I added up the seconds used thinking about ‘a’s and ‘e’s I would probably have enough time to listen to a song or run a kilometre. Not particularly time-consuming activities, admittedly, but you get the point.
My pursuit of the lesser-spotted work visa began back in November when I quit my job at Qatar Foundation.
Qatari employment law means that if you leave one job here, you have to get a letter (NOC) from your current employer saying they give permission for you to move to another company within Qatar. In the absence of this letter you can’t work back here for two years, which is a bit of an issue as all my stuff is here.
So QF gave me that letter. In Arabic. On the last day of my two-month notice period. Which wasn’t at all stressful.
Anyway, that done, I thought happy days were not far away and confidently skipped off to my new employer, letter in hand, thinking my new visa would soon be mine and proudly mounted on the wall above my bed.
But the work visa is an elusive beast and because my new job is a six month contract I apparently needed a different letter from QF’s immigration department saying I could leave the country when they cancelled my residency and then come back in on a six month business visa with the new company.
Now, stay with me, this is where things get complicated, or as I think of it, so unbelievably confusing I just might cry on someone if it doesn’t get sorted out soon.
On requesting the letter from QF’s immigration, I was told they could only release it if my new employer wrote a letter formally requesting the first letter. Or something.
Again I went back to my new company and furnished myself with what I believed to be the weapon needed to finally trap my work visa in an unpenetrable net. (OK, I don’t hunt so this metaphor could be getting slightly stretched at this point.)
BUT NO! The letter must be signed by someone with a something something immigration number something something. I’m not going to lie, at this point I had tuned out when it came to the reasons behind me having done something wrong and just did as I was told without questioning the logic. If they had told me to go to North Korea to trap a unicorn and get it to sign my visa in triplicate I probably would have been on the first flight.
While all this was going on I enjoyed a very genteel temporary deportation as QF had to cancel m residency permit. This essentially involved a jolly to Dubai where I hung out with friends, drank coffee, moaned for a bit, and then flew back to Qatar on a tourist visa to give myself and my new employer a bit of time to line up some water fowl. And shoot them, if we’re going to continue the somewhat tenuous imagery I chose for this post.
So that is where I am. Paperwork floats around my new company’s HR department waiting for some mythical signature before I can be given a letter requesting a letter ok-ing my visa.
In the meantime I go to the gym, read a lot, and hit people with swords and the lesser-spotted work visa frolics free around the sand dunes of Qatar, its long ears flapping in the breeze.