Sunday, May 11, 2008

Il Soggiorno, Il Lavoro, e Il Nullaosta, part 1

As the days of our departure from Italy approach at an ever-increasing speed, I wake up each morning unsure of what to expect. For the last few days I've been anxious, and if you were to ask me what I am anxious about you might be given a long, overly thought out and highly theoretical explanation that is resulting from continuous self (re)revaluation. It really is annoying at times and I imagine that it has a good bit to do with why I haven't posted in a while. Much has happened since my last actual post, and as always you can find scintillating retellings of those events on the blog of my saner, prettier, and all around better half: the olive notes.

Some of you know that I was offered a job in smaller city just outside of Florence, in December of last year. If you knew that then you probably have some idea of the ordeal it has been working through the bureaucracy of obtaining a work permit. If not, suffice it to say it's been stereotypically ridiculous, and at this point the legal possibility of me being able to work in Italy within the next year or two is all but gone. Here's a quick summary of how the events have played out.

1. September Something 2007: I was given an impossible date to receive my permesso di soggiorno.
The permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) gives legal permission to the holder from the Italian government to remain in Italy for a determined amount of time. They aren't so easy to come by if you don't have a reason to be in the country, such as an existing work offer or you are a student at an Italian university. We came here as students so it wasn't/wouldn't have been so difficult. The time we were/would have been granted was pinned exactly to the visa we received, which in turn was pinned to how long we would be in school. In order to receive the soggiorno you must fill out a kit of forms, pay for their processing, wait to be contacted with a date for an interview at the Questura (police station), attend the interview, and finally pick up the soggiorno from the Questura if all went well.

Unfortunately things didn't really fall into place like that, primarily due to a restructuring of the process for submitting, processing, and receiving the soggiorno. I forget the exact date on which we turned in our kits to the post office, but it was in early September, 2007. A week or so later we each recieved SMS messages (which were later followed by lettere raccomandate (certified letters)), from the Ministero dell'Interno (Internal Ministry). Erin's interview was set for February 14th, and mine for some date in July. Yes, July, 2008. Not only is that a ridiculously long wait, but our school ended in April, which means they scheduled my interview to see if I was legally eligible to receive a permesso for a date 3 months after that permesso would have expired. So, legally speaking, I will have spent 9 months in Italy during which the government was thinking about whether or not I was allowed to be there, with a final decision to be made 3 months after I will have already left. Hmm.

2. December 19th 2007: I was offered a job.
I was surprised, elated, and honored to have been offered a job by an Italian company at the end of last year. Software development is not something Italy is known for, but this group is an exceptional one and they do not normally hire foreigners. They offered me a year-long contratto determinato (temporary contract) which would likely be renewed as a contratto indeterminato (permanent contract) after it ended. I would have been working with other talented software developers (something I value highly) in an Italian office - another thing that excited me as it would force my Italian to a higher level of competence.

I'll continue the rest in a new post. Stick around as there's some actual news, and if you're looking to do something like I was you may find it useful.

A presto!

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