Anyones else frustrated by all the bureaucracy

(30 Posts)
Alligatorpie Sat 27-Apr-13 16:17:30

I live in N Africa, where getting anything done is a major challenge.
To join our local club so we have access to the swimming pool, my husband had to make four trips to city hall - one with our landlord, one with the owner of the school we work in, then I had to make three trips to the club, filling out various forms, meting various managers, photocopying visas, passports and residency cards. The last time I went to the office, I was told as a foreigner I had to pay in USD, not the local currency...more meeting with various managers, me losing my temper and finally four hours later, I get my card. This was to renew a membership. It's like the computers are decorative, everything is handwritten and kept in individual files. It drives me up the wall!

And breathe....Anyone else feel like they live on another planet sometimes?

Liara Mon 29-Apr-13 22:24:13

Tanterose, I have lived in Japan and found it byzantine! OK, it was a fair while ago now (almost 20 years), but simple things like getting a phone line were major operations, and the bank account was just bizarre.

Not to mention the tenancy agreement, or any of the other little everyday contracts.

Alligatorpie Sun 28-Apr-13 12:31:18

Umlaf- that is the kind of logic that makes me mental! Hope you get it sorted out.

In Egypt, you have to give your child their father's name as a middle name. I know several expats who have had their babies here and have had real problems registering the child's birth with their chosen name - not the dad's name. Luckily, it is not too much hassle to get a british birth certificate but the egyptian one will always have the wrong name on it.

Umlauf Sun 28-Apr-13 10:39:46

I thought we had it bad here in Spain, reading your posts has made me feel a lot better!

Just recently, after 4 months of pregnancy, I've been told that actually I can't have a medical card without a NI card (I have an NI piece of paper but it needs to be a card). Problem is only non EU members get the card, EU people just get the paper. But I can't have the baby without having the card, apparently.

Do they think its just going to stay nicely in my womb forever?!?!

Alligatorpie Sun 28-Apr-13 10:30:32

I had to laugh at your hospital story twilight. I would have been there indefinitely too! Turkey sounds a lot like Egypt!

Most people here don't bother getting a drivers licence. Even the foreigners.

twilight3 Sun 28-Apr-13 09:53:49

LOL, I was, it was terribly worrying, I thought my boy was very ill and they were not telling me until they were certain, I thought the worst sad

that's how everyone passed driving tests - yikes!)

Makes you feel safe driving around, doesn't it grin

Yes, the bribery never felt right (especially when I was working at uni and the students were offering bribes to pass exams and telling me that's how everyone passed driving tests - yikes!)

We also had a fixer to call with relatives who were govt ministers. One call to him and handing the phone over for a conversation would get you out of most situations pretty quickly.

Love the phrase 'right indications' ... I would have been waiting for days for test results grin

twilight3 Sun 28-Apr-13 09:41:43

butterflies I understand the spirit in which you reminisce being able to bribe people, but it was driving me insane in Turkey, especially before I realised what was going on. It was mostly the fact that it was generally accepted that you had to. Something completely illegal that everyone knows and openly accepts.
I had to bribe a doctor once to get my son discharged from hospital, 5 days after he was well!!! I kept asking the doctor and he was giving me a strange smile telling me that he hadn't had yet the "right indications" to discharge him. Thankfully my neighbour (a local) translated for me the "right indications" in USD (the official bribery currency it seems) or we would have still been there!

Alligatorpie Sun 28-Apr-13 08:04:23

Thanks for the sympathies, I have my card and to my embarrassment when i looked at my receipt, i realized I didn't pay the 50 pence charge for issuing the card. I guess they just wanted the crazy lady out of their office smile i am keeping the receipt for when I get to go through this process again in six months.

I managed to make it to swimming yesterday, it was Ladies day - no men allowed! Had a lovely time with some friends. I am in Egypt btw.

I remember living in Japan, everything worked so well! I lived in Kobe and loved it there - i think i ate sushi every day!

salbertina, i hope you get more than a six month visa after all that. We need to take HIV tests once a year, and then get six month visas, which luckily the school gets processed. It takes about 2 months to get them, so we are often here with expired visas. Once they forgot to do dd's, and we traveling overseas so needed her passport. The immigration officers didn't even notice. She had been here illegally for almost five months.

Moose - i am Cdn and used to work with immigrants who needed retraining to get work. I forgot what a nightmare it was for them. It truly was horrible. But as a pp said, at least you aren't navigating the bribery system.

Sometimes I thrive on the accomplishment of getting my internet hooked up, or managing to set up regular water deliveries, other times I want to bash my head repeatedly against a brick wall. But i guess that's pretty normal. And i do like it here - mostly!

Singapore is a bit crazy for bureaucracy (yes, chest xrays and hiv tests for residency.....) but we've just gone through the us L1 visa route and it was very stressful. The process for a french carte de sejour years ago was similarly bad, even for brits.

I remember with fondness our time in Azerbaijan when a $100 note would open pretty much any door....

TanteRose Sun 28-Apr-13 03:30:33

You get it renewed at your local police station - that why the police officers were there!

TanteRose Sun 28-Apr-13 03:29:13

Liara "Yup, drives me insane. If anyone knows of a place which isn't a nightmare, please let me know"

Japan - if you have a job and a visa, everything goes like clockwork!
I'm a Permanent Resident (married to a local) - and as long as you have your Residence Card (all non-tourists have to carry the card on their person at all times), then banking, renewing driving license etc. takes minutes!
I went to renew my Japanese driving license the other day (which I got, incidentally, for free with no test because of the UK/Japan agreement) and it took me 45 mins. including an eye test, video on car safety and lovely smiley police officers!

Mutley77 Sun 28-Apr-13 02:18:53

I'm in Australia with DH and 2 DC who are all Australian citizens (I am a PR) - and the bureaucracy has driven me mad - cannot believe how many places they expect you to go in person!!!!!!!

And I'm sure this is absolutely nothing compared to many countries - such as what you are experiencing.

mercibucket Sat 27-Apr-13 23:24:04

don't lose it either grin

twilight3 Sat 27-Apr-13 22:32:26

that's a good point iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, she got it done, lol! Now OP go and have your card photocopied and framed in your living room, you worked truly hard for it wink

twilight3 Sat 27-Apr-13 22:31:06

granted it's better than some places, but definitely worse than others. Public servants can be very rude when you have a foreign accent.

I also used to work at CAB, so it's not just personal experience.

To answer the OP though, YES, IT IS exhausting. There are days that I want to scream, and it has happened in every country I have landed on. Like I said, the pool membership thing I find excessive, it hasn't happened to me... But take a deep breath and think that it happens to every immigrant out there and we all survive at the end.....

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Sat 27-Apr-13 22:28:56

OP,
I feel your pain. smile

At least you got your membership renewed trying hard to be positive

mercibucket Sat 27-Apr-13 21:55:37

it is really nothing compared to the bureaucracy in some places, i am afraid grin
at least you don't have to pay backhanders and still not get stuff done until you make friends with the bosses sister, or similar
i am british, yes, but help foreigners with all that kind of stuff here so i know, yes, it can be annoying, frustrating etc etc, but it is about a million million times more so elsewhere. also, it kind of grinds you down after a while as its everything, see ops post. not a bank, just a swimming pool
i am wondering if we used the same pool, op, as it sounds v familiar grin

twilight3 Sat 27-Apr-13 21:39:22

merci, are you british? I don't know about bank accounts, but britain is veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery bureaucratic for ex-pats. I have a small IKEA cabinet now full of every piece of paper I might possibly need, and photocopies, as I'm not to be fooled again and believe them when they say that "it's all in the system now" grin

MooseBeTimeForSpring Sat 27-Apr-13 21:29:56

I was a Solicitor in the UK. To practise here in Canada I would have to sit 4 exams to get the equivalent degree, do the Canadian equivalent of the LPC and then do a training contract. I can't be arsed.

Ironically I can work here as a legal assistant here and earn more than I did in the UK, with none of the stress.

I have an American friend who has worked as an ER nurse for 25 years and can't even put an Elastoplast on someone here without sitting a whole shed load of exams.

mercibucket Sat 27-Apr-13 21:29:41

where in n africa btw?

and lol at the idea it is the same as opening a bank account in the uk grin

mercibucket Sat 27-Apr-13 21:27:55

sympathies op smile

cultivate the way to act - deferential but important person, and staying silent but refusing to move, while thinking in your head what you want the other person to do, also useful on return to uk grin . i always get my way here now!

also its all about connections so get meeting people asap

Liara Sat 27-Apr-13 21:18:44

That does actually sound worse than France...possibly.

Yup, drives me insane. If anyone knows of a place which isn't a nightmare, please let me know. I'm on my fifth country now and they are all as bad as each other so far!

Has turned me into a right anarchist. Abolish the state! grin

twilight3 Sat 27-Apr-13 21:13:36

Salbertina I haven't done S.Africa, but have you tried Turkey? You can't even piss without going to three different public offices begging for a stamp (usually expected to bribe them just so that they do their jobs!!!!!!!!!!!)

Salbertina Sat 27-Apr-13 19:16:47

Yep, fingerprinting, chest X-rays, countless forms just to renew visa.. Nightmare and they lose half of it anyway! Not "allowed" bank account in my own right. Big sigh. Worst of the several countries I've lived in as regards bureaucracy.

Alligatorpie Sat 27-Apr-13 19:09:21

I am not from England but don't remember opening a bank account to be a huge hassle - but it was a long time ago. I know it is a huge hassle now.

My school opened our bank accounts here. Good thing, or 2 years later I would probably still be waiting. smile

I know what you mean twilight, i have lived in 4 other countries and general admin and paperwork does get easier, but this was a ridiculous effort to get a swimming pool membership.

Just one of those days, i guess.

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