Thursday, November 18, 2010

Labor and Immigration

Yesterday was kind of a disjointed day. Having re-attended and passed the Immigration Medical Clinic on Tuesday, I was instructed to go to the Department of Labor on Wednesday. Everyone I talked to said that they opened at 8:30, and that it took forever, so I should be there early.

I arrived at Labor shortly before 8:30. The doors didn't open until 8:50. Perhaps on this occasion they were just running late. Additionally, while I was there, I noticed a sign in the employee area that stated that new work permits are processed on Wednesdays between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., so perhaps the best strategy would be not to arrive until 10:00, or even a little later. I don't think this policy is made public, which is why everyone believes it's necessary to arrive at 8:30.

Labor didn't actually take much longer than the Clinic had, as I left at 11:15. After paying the $375 for my work permit and getting my work permit card made, I was asked to step next door to the Department of Immigration. Compared to the Department of Labor and the Clinic, the Department of Immigration is shiny and new and super organized. They use a "take a number" system to be seen by the front desk clerk, who then either processes your paperwork into a variety of piles and asks you to take a seat, or gives you forms to fill out and instructions and tells you when to return.

In my case, I received a bond form for my employer to complete, and a questionnaire that I had to fill out. The clerk asked me to return with my completed paperwork before 2:00 p.m, if possible. I left Department of Immigration around 11:45, and arrived at work at 12:15. My boss filled out the bond form, I completed the questionnaire, I did about half an hour of work and shoveled down my lunch and then I was back in the car for the half-hour drive back to Road Town and the Department of Immigration.

When I arrived back at Immigration, I took a number again, and when I was called, the clerk requested all of the immigration forms I've been shuffling around for two weeks now (medical certificate, police certificate, etc.) and the two forms she had given me earlier. She also asked for my passport and newly-minted work permit card. With all of this important identification in her hands, she told me I could return on Friday at 11:30 to pick it up.

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