Friday, November 07, 2008

Land Of Convicts And My Convictions

Question: How do you ensure quality applicants for your country's residence program?
Answer: By making the process so cumbersome, tedious and expensive that it automatically weeds out the faint-hearted, the weak-minded and those financially unable to cough up the multitude of fees before you even lodge your visa application.

I suppose it is a good method for ensuring that those who apply, really, really, really want to become residents of your country. To the extent that they have to endure:-

1. Trawling through 10 years' worth of stamps in one's passport, religiously and patiently trying to match each and every single stamp (fading, unclear, marks stamped over another) for the country visited, dates and reason for trip taken. 3 hours' worth of trying to overcome one's frustration when confronted with colourful, blurry stamps on every single page, trying to figure out which trip was for what reason and how can 2 trips merge into the same period, trying to bear in mind the larger picture that would make getting all cross-eyed and wrinkles on the forehead from frowning, all worth it.

2. Paying $42 to get finger-printed like a common criminal at a police station for a police check to obtain a certificate confirming that one does not have any criminal convictions. And being told to try one's luck by rocking up to the police station (no appointments necessary) to have that done "when we do not have anybody in custody because that would be a security risk". What? I have to be in the same holding cell as the person in custody to get finger-printed? So this would be erm... for my own protection? Geez.

And this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. But then again, I already know how to sing "Waltzing Mathilda" - somehow that was in my mother's repertoire of nursery songs (even though completely inappropriate considering it's about some cattle thief drowning while escaping from the scene of his crime) to teach your children during my childhood.

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