Thursday, January 31, 2008


My son has just run the gauntlet of German bureaucracy to get a work permit. They make it next to impossible for non-EU citizens these days, probably because the Germans don’t really want any additional foreigners taking scarce jobs.

He is so principled that he really felt uncomfortable even trying to work illegally (without a permit) as many people do. But it’s clear that red tape in Germany may be even worse than it is in this country.

Here are the major requirements to even be able to apply for a work permit:
(1) A job offer.
(2) A permanent address (meaning NOT a hostel).
(3) An acceptable form of comprehensive health insurance.
(4) A tax number.

Any one of these might not seem so hard, but all 4 were a real challenge for someone who does not speak German, who in fact was only in Hamburg because he wanted to teach ENGLISH! That idea that all Europeans speak English is a myth apparently.

He was so excited about his success that he woke us up on Monday morning to tell us he had received the official notice that he now had a work permit.

I’m sure that takes a load off his mind, now that he can pursue his two job offers legitimately. In addition, he can also advertize his services.

I’m thinking maybe he should hit up those offices that made this process so difficult. Maybe a quick course in business English!


Blogger media concepts said...

The German-to-English class should be easy. Just tell the students to break up those big words into smaller ones. Kindergarten. Delicatessen. Magnetschwebebahnvorbereitungsgesellschaft.

1:54 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MC -- He is actually "specializing" in legal English, since he does have a US law degree. His first teaching assignment was with a bunch of lawyers in a German bank. Yeah, I'll bet legal law has a lot of those longwordsmadeupofmanylittlewords.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Meant to say "legal German"...

8:38 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Okay........ so now I don't worry about Dan anymore....hope Mom and Dad will stop (yeah like when he is 50?)!

Anyway he seems to work hard at creating what he wants to do.

You must be very proud.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kate -- He now has my unfailing trust. He has taken on a whole new sense of self-confidence as he methodically pursued this difficult goal. He has a lofty game plan for his life that I'm sure will be played out just as he envisions.

12:21 PM  

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