Migrant Tales - Kwento ni NB
Early this year I had a valid work permit running, as I do now, however time was running out on my employer. It was going through dire straits, and I was one of the few employees remaining in the office. Partly for loyalty and gratitude but also because, my WP being one limiting which employer I could work for, I didn't have much choice but to stay on.
My worst fears were confirmed when the company folded late Feb. Like some of our kababayan, my meager Filipino credentials were not suited to the Kiwi setting and though I have had a rich resume of varied jobs and work experience, I found myself turned down, one job after the other, nahilo ako sa rejection.
Redemption came in the form of a miracle referral, when a compassionate Pinoy who remembered me asking around for a job rang me, saying there was an opening in their company.
Incredibly, NO qualifications were necessary, since all training was to be provided, and even more incredibly, training included "guild qualifications" that, once attained, could be helpful in the event of an Expression of Interest under the Skilled Migrant Category. All I needed to do was show up and apply for the position. Wow.
It was here where a series of delays served to frustrate me and cast doubt on whether I could go through the gauntlet of staying in NZ beyond my WP's expiry.
First, I lost my passport. I went through the employer's application process and got accepted, and though the employer initially didnt see the loss as a problem, the prospect of reapplying for a new passport and the hassles associated with it raised issues later as the employer's admission procedure would be lengthened.
Fortunately, I found my passport a week later but all the same, a week had passed. I almost didn't start but, the training being extensive, started one week after i was hired.
Again, I just couldn't get a break. After only four days, it was found out that my medicals needed to be renewed under work permit policy, and more disappointingly, my immigration consultant warned me that until I had a new WP, I couldn't work for any other employer except the one that had already gone under. The egg couldn't come before the chicken, despite my new employer's best intentions.
So I left abruptly (midday) on just my fifth day with my new employer, almost crushed but still determined to get a new WP. This started the second delay. At least, I had time to take a new physical.
Incidentally, even before that I had already been declared good to go by the company's own physical. From their resume check, I also had no ACC claim pending, no criminal record, and didn't care that I had to join the union, all elements important to the employer. Too good to be true nga eh, on both sides.
Of course, I had to wait another 10 days to find out what I already knew: I was in good health, physically fit, and agile enough to hold up to the requirements of the job, which involved going up and down stairs, a bit of running from time to time, and prolonged periods of standing. Desperation and urgency are good incentives to keeping fit pala.
Guess what? After completing my physicals and submitting my WP application, my application papers were returned just a week after, with a note stating that I had no qualifications or experience necessary under NZ policy. The letter furnished by the employer offering to provide all training was ignored. Another week's delay.
Fortunately, a second and more enlightened V.O. took note of the letter and the fact that all of the employer's new hires did not require experience, and six weeks after I was engaged for work, I finally got my new work permit. The day I received the package, I was already starting to make plans going home, to disappointment of family and friends, and worse, to my own disillusionment. Amazingly, the package was even delivered by a Pinoy courier, who winked at me saying, "mukhang good news, kabayan."
During those six weeks, I admit I had my darkest doubts on whether or not I could stay here, and even though I had earlier resolved to stay under the most trying of circumstances, I never knew if I could ever stay beyond the 30th of June, the last day of my old WP.
It appears I have been given a second chance here. I join those AKLnzPINOY members who say that, for good or ill, we have been adopted (or are trying to be adopted) by this overachieving little country, and for as long as we stay here, we can say nothing bad about it. Otherwise, nothing stops us from returning home, in my case, returning to little or no opportunity.
That's my little tale. Pasensya na po kung medyo mahaba.
Mabuhay ang AKLnzPINOYs ! Kudos to the organizers and moderators, you do the Filipino community an excellent service. Probably more than you will ever know.