When am I flying off?

One of the most common questions I have been getting is “when are you flying off?”. This is actually a rather complicated question to answer. The short answer is “I don’t know”. To expand on this, I will have to give you a background of how the process works.

I am going to be employed at a university. As most of you know, I will need a work permit. I guess this is kinda different from a visa. Whereas a visa allows you to enter a country, a work permit allows you to work there.

As an Australian, I do not need a visa to enter Denmark. It is perfectly alright for me to enter the country unannounced (as a visitor). However, should I want to work there, I will need a work permit. This will have to be applied for from outside Denmark. That’s why I can’t just waltz into the country and then process my permit onshore.

The form that I need is called AR1. It is an application for residence and work permit in Denmark on the grounds of salaried work. Notice that it says residence and work permit. We’ll come back to this a bit later. The AR1 form follows the common procedure: the employer needs to start the process and provide relevant details such as a job offer and position description, before the employee (that’s me) can fill in their bit and submit the completed form. The job offer has taken the University a while to cook up, and I only got the formal offer from the University on 3 Apr. in the offer, my starting date was proposed to be 1 May.

After the University advised me that they have sorted out their bit of the paperwork, it was my turn to complete it. There was a short exchange back and forth between me and the University because I had initiated the process under a different case ID (application) – a story in itself. The form itself was very easy to complete and definitely not as rigorous as an Australian visa form. I completed and submitted it on Friday, 5 Apr.

At this stage, there was one other hurdle in order to get the AR1 form processed. Remember that AR1 is a residence and work permit application. The work permit part is the form itself. The residence permit part requires the submission of biometrics data (i.e. photograph and fingerprint), without which the AR1 form cannot be processed. But once they receive the biometrics data, the form will be processed within 30 days.

As it turned out, Sydney was the only Danish mission in Australia that can do this. So on the day that I completed the form (Friday), I exchanged a few e-mails with the Danish embassy in Sydney about an appointment on Monday. To their credit, they were willing to schedule me in at a very late notice. The last e-mail I got from them was timestamped almost 6 pm on Friday, way after the normal office hours, confirming an appointment for the very next working day (Monday).

The actual appointment itself only lasted for 10 minutes. The same lady who I exchanged e-mails with was the one who helped me at the embassy. She advised me that when the work permit is issued, the University and the Danish embassy in Sydney will get the notification electronically. Due to security issues, the embassy in Sydney cannot forward me my work permit. Instead, they have to print it off and send it to me by snail mail.

Here’s where things get interesting. The University has been generous enough to offer a flight ticket for me. But obviously they can’t do this until it is certain that I get my work permit. I have advised the University that there are a few outstanding things that I need to do that will require me to present a flight ticket. Therefore, I requested them to book me a ticket for at least a week after my work permit is issued.

This brings up another issue which at this point is pure speculation. The best case scenario is that I will get my work permit early this week. But my job offer has an effective start date of 1 May. Will the University try to make sure I start on the 1 May, meaning I fly off early next week? Is there any implication if I fly off after the date that I am supposed to start? At the moment I come back to the answer I gave before, “I simply don’t know“.

All I know is one thing: I will get there eventually.

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