Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Lawyers Again
Perhaps I should say first that my father was a lawyer, my uncle was a lawyer, some of my cousins and my friends are lawyers, even David used to be a lawyer..... and all of these people were / are normal (well, within the normal range).

But they did not practice in Cyprus. Here, if you want to be a lawyer, you have to go to Greece or the UK to get a degree, since law degrees are not yet available in Cyprus. Upon return, you get a well-appointed office in the best part of town, photos in silver frames of you with the Archbishop or the President are a great accessory. The other thing you need is the largest, flashiest car possible, and once thus equipped, you can settle back for life and do absolutely nothing and charge people, preferably foreigners, large sums of money for this.

Yes, I have had enough of the woman who is handling my work permit. To be fair, she has only been handling it for half of the three years it has taken not to get a work permit, but I do not think it is unreasonable to expect a little progress to be made in one and a half years.

The latest thing is that she is supposed to arrange for me and/or my passport to go to the immigration office, supposedly in order to get the work permit (I'm a little sceptical, as I have heard this before). And I asked for it to be arranged in advance, so that I could fit it in with my work committments, unlike previous occasions, where it has been a phone call at 5pm to say I need to be at the immigration department at 7:30am the next day.

Is this so difficult? Well, on Monday I get told that the appointment is for Wednesday, and to avoide me queueing (for an appointment???), I don't need to be there. Someone will come and collect my passport and our client here will need to sign and seal some papers. Well, I say, you had better make an appointment with them to do this beforehand. No, you can't just bowl up here on Wednesday morning at some unspecified time and expect them to be free to do this. Anyway, what papers? They need to know beforehand what they are expected to sign. And while we are about it, who will collect my passport, at what time and when will I get it back. Silence......

Until I get to work this morning, and Andy says to me, oh the lawyer called, she is weird. They wanted him to sign something, so he asked them to read it out, and it started "we agree to employ".... Naturally he said he wasn't signing that, as the client is not my employer, which you would think after this length of time, the lawyer would know.

Next thing, I get an email from the weird lawyer, saying "client will not sign application form, can someone from X (old name of my company) do this?". Application form? Haven't we filled out a few of those before? Why another one? Why X, a company that has not existed for over a year?

So I have taken the coward's way out and told her to take this up with the lawyer in the US, who seems quite sensible and organised, and must be driven mad by having to work with this woman. I wonder if I will get an appointment or a work permit before I leave here at the end of July? It seems unlikely with the way things are going. If I come back here after the summer holidays, I am going to try asking for another lawyer, maybe there is a competent immigration lawyer somewhere in Cyprus.

Of course all of this has its roots in the fact that the Cyprus Government historically has not wanted foreigners here (see this, it's from the Cyprus Mail recently), and they are still doing everything they can not to process any more work permits than they can avoid. I am pretty much on the lowest priority, because I am not a "female artiste" or a house maid. See this for the way a lot of people here think about their house maids, although this did provoke a barrage of "why not do your own housework if employing a maid is such hard work?" letters to the paper.

And as for female artistes, I won't go too closely into the nature of their employment, the government swears that they are dancers and waitresses and so on, but then they can't really answer questions about why they need to have regular AIDS tests..... I think Cyprus is the only European country that has a special visa category for this, and it is only open to women from certain countries, formerly Asian countries, now also from Eastern Europe. Which of course accounts for the fact that women who are from those countries, but who are not female artistes, can find life very difficult here. We had one young woman from our company, who comes from Singapore, where her father is a professor and her mother is a judge, and she was harassed by "offers" every time she went out, so ended up spending six weeks in her hotel, more or less.

I should probably stop going on about this, it's nothing to do with stitching or anything even vaguely relevant to the themes of this blog, but really it is just SO annoying to be without a work permit for this length of time.
posted by Ally at 1:58 pm ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 3:15 am, Blogger Kathryn in NZ

    I had been wondering how the whole permit thing was going. Makes NZ Immigration look like saints, who da thought?
    Love Vic Quaker - the colours have come out pretty. Well done!!