PR, Films and Fantasies

Think you can beat the system? THIS IS the system beating you back! (film “21”)

Posted on: May 19, 2010

When you first think about living in a different country, the enthusiasm keeps you too busy to consider various basic things you have access to at home, which once an immigrant you’ll lose.

My first problem when moving to the UK (and I guess it happens with all countries, so please UK citizens, don’t take this personally!) was renting an apartment. We found a lovely one after seeing around 15 but… surprise, I needed a UK bank account in order to sign the rental agreement. It didn’t seem a big problem, just that at the bank, you need a UK address in order to get an account… and the circle begins. Luckily, the lady at the renting company was kind enough to chat the system and allow me to fill the blanks a bit later… so that was settled…

Next problem was communication…the internet, phone and TV. Three months later, tens of hours lost talking to customer service and trips to the Bullring BT and millions of nerves, we had them all in the house (although the only thing they had to change was the name of the previous tenant from the contract as all the wires were already in the house). Anyway, SOLVED…

Mobile… that was a tricky one. You can only get a real contract after 3 months of living here… So no Iphone till December (I know, I know not a big deal… but I am an addict!!!!).

I won’t get into other details like online shopping, the electricity bill (which is very mysterious), blocked credit cards, university assignments or transportation.

Anyway, today one other thing made me understand that behind all the welcoming faces, I will always be a guest in another country! I got involved in a research project with my university and despite the fact that I was assured I won’t need a work permit for the job (being around 10hours a week), I had another surprise.

I went for my NI aka national insurance number and was kindly told that I do need that student working permit in order to be part of the project and get paid… After 20minutes on hold a nice lady told me (among other useless information and “I’m sorry”s) that it takes around 3 months for a permit to be issued (and it’s illegal to work without it) and that I have to send them my passport through POST for that. And no, there is no such thing as an URGENT application.

3 months NO passport and NO project as it will be long over by then… GREAT!!!!

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5 Responses to "Think you can beat the system? THIS IS the system beating you back! (film “21”)"

It takes about a month and a bit to get your work permit. Trust me, i did it 🙂

I phoned them and they said they were a bit behind with applications and were currently working on one from the 1st of April… sounded very optimistic 🙂

I’ve been waiting mine for a month… they say it takes 3 weeks. And after you get it, you still can’t work, because you have to schedule an interview for the NIN (that takes another 2 weeks, at least).

The 3 months thing was because you need bank statements from the lat 3 months, and they probably assumed you just came into the country. And you don’t have to send the passport, just your ID card, and if you don’t want to do that, you can schedule a face to face appointment and they give you your permit on the spot, no mail involved.

Ooooor… just register as self employed: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/register-selfemp.htm

It says there you need an NIN, but you don’t 🙂

Really?? Cause the guy said they are behind with applications so that’s why it takes that long… Btw you can get a temporary NIN… the employer has to call them and you can work on it until the final one…

You get the temporary NIN on the spot, at the interview, until the real one comes through snail mail (that takes another 2-3 weeks).

But you still have to wait for the work permit. The thing is, registering as self employed might actually be faster and it only means you pay your taxes on your own, but you can work just like anybody else.

Or at least that’s what they said when I called them. Except for the self employed trick, that I know from some Romanian guys working here. Anyway, this is twisted. Good luck!

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