David vs. Goliath (a.k.a my former employer) Part 2

                                                                                                               Do It Yourself

I had no idea that 2 little pieces of paper would take so much effort to obtain. You know in the beginning of “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Indiana has to escape the cave dodging darts, holes in the ground, sun triggered spikes, tarantulas, and that gigantic ball? I’m a bit jealous, that would be fun compared to the crap I had to do to get a couple pieces of paper. Obviously I’m joking, I’m not sure I’d handle the spider part without freaking out and running into, of course, the sun triggered spikes.

Back to point (sorry) but getting the documents needed was more complicated than it needed to be. As stated in Part 1, to switch my visa from my school to PassageMaker (PM) I needed a letter of release from my school basically saying I’m not working there anymore, and a cancellation letter from the Shenzhen government. For the past week I’ve been trying to get the visa lady at my school to go and cancel my stuff for me (so my visa could be switched) *Background- the lady at my school, whose job is to deal with foreign employer visas DOESN’T speak a word of English. Helpful I know, right?

China changes many of the rules regarding foreign employment. For instance last year, my contract finished in June, but my visa was good until late July (so I could travel). This year though, the government doesn’t want foreigners traveling on work visas so the amount of time from work finishing to visa expiration is much closer. For me my teaching contract ran through July 15, and my visa expired July 21. Now I finally got the visa lady at my school to cancel my documents YESTERDAY July 14th. Meanwhile wonderful, sweet, amazing Lydia here at PM has applied for me and gotten approved my employment with the government. AND she has potentially gotten everything ready for me to get my visa extended in about 1 week. Ridiculously amazing, YET it took 4 days of Lydia and I hassling my school to get them to do twenty minutes of work.

So the visa lady (believe me I want to use names, but have been denied) goes and cancels my stuff yesterday. Today I went to get my letter of release from the school which she refused to give me until ‘xingqier’ or Tuesday in English, the day BEFORE my visa expires, basically ensuring that I’d have to go to Hong Kong and get a new visa. I ask her to call the labor department for foreigners to see if I could get it. She refused. I ask for my letter again, she refused. I literally hop onto the subway and walk there in person, and am handed the letter 30 minutes after I get there. Amazing! If you actually make an effort you get things! She looked positively flabbergasted (I like this word! Don’t get to use it that often) that I got my letter when I showed up demanding my letter of release.

So this is just one tale, but it was a doozy. There’s more to come. I will say that it would have been helpful to be able to speak Chinese myself, but it doesn’t always work that way. Here at my company though, we have Chinese translation services available if you want to check on products, companies, etc on your own. Of course PM does this too (Quality Control, factory searches safety/inspection and translation) and you’d get my gratitude for helping to keep me employed by choosing us!

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