Frustrations of being an alien
Usually I prefer sharing insights and not frustrations, but this time it's too much to keep for myself.
For a few days I was trying to reach Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst or IND) to find out about extension of my residence permit. I'm here for almost three years (btw, paying taxes and contributing to Dutch economy), I sent all my papers two months back and I even paid all what they want (285 euro; this is only for extending the permit, it's 430 when you first apply)... No way I can reach them - I get through the phone menus only to hear "everyone is busy, please call later" and then hanging.
Fine. I change my tactics. I go to expat web-site only to find our that others managed to get through and were told that now permits would take anything between 3 to 7 month to arrive (a little detail - it serves as a visa, so you are not able to travel without it).
Great. Since I have to travel in a week this means getting return visa. I'm calling IND again. This time I choose another option, so after a few minutes waiting I'm getting a person, she connects me to the right line (why do they need all the menus then?) and I wait for ages again. Several calls like that (my record - 20 minutes waiting patiently) and I get someone on the phone: they will call me next week to say when I can come (btw, to another city 1,5h away). I'll have to pay travel costs and 40 euro for a visa and they don't promise that I can get it in time.
Some small details: since I came here permit prices were raised from 50 to 430 euro, rules, responsible organisations and phone numbers were changed several times, IND web-site got several fancy redesigns (including special site of about the authenticity features of the Dutch identity cards for aliens), I've lost countless hours trying to find out about progress of my documents and I've got none of my permits in time.
Who talks about mobility and knowledge economy? It's about survival of the fittest.
There is only one funny thing in it - imagining myself as an alien :)