Job contract

KU Contract
KU Contract

So, after 4 months, I have finally got my contract at KU.

Wait, did you say that you just got your contract?

Why, yes I did.

After 4 months?


So you’re finally getting paid now?

No. I have been getting my salary since my first month here.

That’s bizarre!

Yes. I guess that just shows how trusting Danes are.

That is unheard of in Australia… at least as far as foreigners are concerned.

That’s right. In Australia, you need to have a contract before you can even apply for your work visa to enter the country. And speaking of work permit, in Denmark, you are free to enter the country as a tourist and then apply for a work permit once you are in. As for me, I got my work permit sorted out before I even landed on Danish soil.

So how come it took a long time for you to get your contract?

Well, my contract was only processed when I arrived in late May. It took some time to process because the HR person has to go through my education and work history to assign the correct amount for my salary. Also, when I arrived, it was the beginning of summer, so a lot of people were away for summer vacation.

I see…

Actually, there’s more to it than that. I only got my contract because we stumbled into it accidentally.

Accidentally? What do you mean?

Well, I went to a workshop in Germany. So I wanted to lodge a travel expense claim form. I needed to know where my funding comes from. So the group administrator tried to look for it in my folder, and she came across my contract!

That was lucky.

The funny thing is, it was dated the end of June!

Wait a minute… so the contract was actually ready for 3 months?

Yes. It was actually sent to my previous address! I moved out from my old place at the end of June. I didn’t get a mail redirection because I wasn’t expecting to get any snail mail. I was expecting the contract to be sent electronically.

Ah, so that was your fault.

Hmm… I guess so. But it all worked out in the end. I signed it, despite the contract saying “return within 14 days”. The International HR staff just laughed it off. Like I said, Danes a pretty relaxed about this kind of things.

Well, all’s well that ends well, I guess!

Yes, I agree completely.

One step closer

Look at what I found in my letterbox yesterday. Apparently the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment made their decision on 2 May, which was then forwarded to the Danish consulate general in Sydney. They then mailed it out to me on 6 May.

Work and residence permit Work and residence permit - zoomed

Now I have to coordinate with the University to organise my ticket and accommodation.

One step closer.

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.

Hello again

Hello again. Did you miss me? After a very long absence, I have returned to the world of blogging, complete with a new domain name.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences as I embark on an adventure which will take me to Copenhagen and beyond. I am very excited about it. I am currently waiting for my work permit to come through, after which I will fly off to Denmark and start my new position with the NanoGeoScience group at the University of Copenhagen.

In the next few posts, I will write about the story so far and the general process of moving to Denmark. Stay tuned.