Bureaucracy is a bane to all of our existences. It’s a bi-product of government and corporate processes that permeates through the crevices of society. My journey into China this year is far different than thirteen years ago. In 2003 all I needed to do was to show up in the country with a tourist visa, and everything else would be handled by my employer once I got there. When I first landed in the country, I was shocked to find how much work was still done on paper. Electronic records had just started to canvas the Middle Kingdom at the time, and I was residing in a backwoods province. Apparently, it’s not just the cities that expand at lightning speed there. From what I’ve seen through short trips there, and what I’ve been dealing with during my process this time, the technological pervasiveness may have very well surpassed what we have here in Canada. It is with all these new technologies in place that a whole new layer of paperwork has become concomitant with the work permit application apparatus.
Government proposes, bureaucracy disposes. And the bureaucracy must dispose of government proposals by dumping them on us.
-P. J. O’Rourke
New, just this year, are requirements for notarized and authenticated documents that are re-authenticated by the Chinese consulate. This top heavy process is supposed to make further applications a lot smoother and expedited. I can deal with that. However, given that these processes are new, hiccups and confusions are bound to come up. I have already gone through some new hurdles in the process, and I ran into new ones yesterday. I received notification that I was not to arrive in China until August 28th. The first stage of my work permit expires after 30 days, and those days would be needed to get my residency papers, updated permits, and other important documents. I leave on August 14 at 1:30am. tickets are purchased, and rebooking would be.. expensive. The solution is to arrive on a tourist visa (which I already have from my previous trip, though TheWife™ will need to reacquire), have my documents sent to China instead of here in Canada, and then at the end of August, I am to journey into Hong Kong to get my proper Z visa.
This change also brought about a new issue– since I am to arrive on a tourist visa, I’ll need to show that I have a flight booked out of the country. I only have one-way tickets purchased because I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be coming home next summer. An inquiry told me that to upgrade my tickets to leave next July would add an additional $1200 to my ticket price. I poured myself a bowl full of NOPE! Research led me to a service for flying nomads called FlyOnward which will purchase a ticket for you, for a small fee, and will then cancel the ticket after 48 hours. They purchase the ticket on their own dime, which limits the expense of buying full-return. Genius. This is what the internet has done for us.
International travel is never easy, and work permits are requiring increasingly complicated maneuvers to get them. Good thing I learned a long time ago to let the red tape and other things roll off my shoulders. Besides, it’s not like back in June, the day before I moved back to Ontario when I lost my passport. Oh. I haven’t told you that story yet. I’ll save that one for next time.