アイルランド留学Vol.8〜入国管理局〜

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・私の宿敵、イミグレーションオフィス

 

アイルランドに90日以上(だったかな?)滞在するとなると、イミグレーションオフィス(入国管理局)に外国人登録という手続きに行かなくてはなりません。外国人登録?はて?って感じですよね。いやはや、外国にいるのだから、自分、外国人なんです。(←当たり前だ。)しかしその手続きで、私、毎回のごとくイラっとさせられました。

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まずは初めての語学留学期。同じクラスの日本人の友達に手続き方法聞いたら、手書きで必要書類とか方法とか全部書いてくれて(今でも捨てずに持ってる。もう行かないと思うけど、二回目の時もめっちゃ役立ったから。)、それに従って手続きをしました。必要書類は、

 

・パスポート

・滞在先の住所を示す書類

・PPSナンバー(Personal Public Serviceという社会保障ナンバー。)

・銀行口座の開設

・学校の証明書(ワーホリビザがある場合はそれ。)

 

・手数料を支払うためのクレジットカード(当時で100ユーロだったかな?その後は150ユーロ?結構な額取られました。。1回目と2回目で手数料は上がってたので、今はまた上がっているでしょう。。)

※上記は、私が滞在していた当時の情報なので、今後手続きされる方は別途確認してくださいね!

 

このイミグレーションオフィス、私にとって、とってもクセモノでした。というのも、当時はまだユーロ高だったし、その中でもアイルランドはいわゆる「ケルティックタイガー」と呼ばれる好景気状態、まさに日本のバブル景気と同じ状況で、学生のみならずいろんな国からの出稼ぎ者が多かったのです。

ユーロ圏の人たちはビザなく働くことができるけど、それ以外の国の人間は手続きが必要。学生ビザでも週に20時間とかバイトできたから、語学習得目的じゃなくとも、出稼ぎ目的の学生もわんさといたんですよね。

 

手続きに行けば常に混んでいて、2時間とか3時間とか、ひどいときは4~5時間も待たされたときも。で、いざ窓口に呼ばれて行くと、ここの書類に不備があるから、と難くせつけられて登録できず帰され、また出直し。そんなことが何度もありました。。。

 

1回目の滞在の時は、学生ビザで3回くらい出直したかな?2回目はワーホリビザだったせいか意外とすんなり通ったけど。そのあと、ワーホリビザの期限である1年が過ぎるから、滞在をさらに延長しようと学生ビザに切り替えたときは、やっぱり2回くらい出直しを命ぜられました。でも、不景気の影響もあってか、再度訪れたイミグレーションオフィスの待ち時間は、徐々に短くなっていたように思います。

 

それにしても、なんでそんなに毎回のようにダメ出しされるのか。その大きな原因に、

 

担当する人によって言うことが違う!

 

というのがあると思います。

手続きのために意味グレオフィスに行くと、まずは手続きの順番待ちのため番号札をもらいます。しかし、この番号札をもらうために窓口に並んで待って、順番が来たら必要書類を全部見せて、チェック。そこで不備がなければ、番号札をもらえるわけで。しかしOKと言われて番号札をもらって何時間も待って、ようやく番号が呼ばれて手続きの窓口に行くと、「これ、ダメだから」とあっさりとケチを付けられ、結局手続きできず、という。もーう、

 

ここがダメっていうなら、先に言ってよーう!(怒)

 

と、何度も発狂しそうになりました。。

 

さらに手続きについて、私が渡愛した当初は必要なかったのですが、ワーホリビザから学生ビザに切り替える際には、手続きに指紋登録というのも条件となっていました。入国審査の際も指紋を取られるんですけど、イミグレオフィスでも機械に指先をかざすよう指示されます。

でもね、この手続きに行ったとき、私はバリバリにイタリアンワインバーで連日皿洗いしておりまして。元来肌が弱いこともあり、私の手は荒れまくって、

 

指先なんて指紋が薄くなっているのが肉眼で確認できるほどツルツルに。

 

仕事中、ワイン注ぐときもワインボトル落とすんじゃないかとヒヤヒヤするほど、指紋が薄くなっていたのです。そんな私の指、指紋なんて取れるのか?と、自分で疑問に思うくらいだったので、これまで何度もダメだしされたイミグレでの手続き、一度ダメ出しを出されての再来はいつも以上にドキドキでした。ビザ不要なヨーロピアンの仕事仲間も、イミグレオフィスなんて無縁なせいか、無事に学生ビザが取れるよう応援してくれてました。これで認められないと帰国せざるを得なくなりますから。

 

で、緊張のまま、でも感じ悪いと思われないようになるべく笑顔、と自分に言い聞かせながらたどり着いたイミグレオフィス。番号が呼ばれ、この日当たった窓口の担当者、見た目もラフな服装で。必要書類を差し出すと、ふんふんと確認され、質問もいくつかされたけど、これまでみたいなねちっこい印象はゼロ。しかも、担当者の見間違いがあったのでそれを指摘したら、「あ、ごめん。自分が間違ってた」と謝られ。

 

え?今、ソーリーって言った?!言ったよね?!こんな優しい対応、今までなかったよ!

 

ちょっと、びっくりなくらい手続きスムーズなんだけど、っていう!

 

そして、最後の難関?指紋採取。案の定、うまく取れなかったらしく、2、3度機械の上に指先を置くように言われました。どうしよ、指紋が取れないからダメって言われたら…なんて心配していたら。

 

「うーん。まあ大したことじゃないから。」

 

と言う言葉とともにパスポートにばんっとスタンプを押されまして。

 

あれ?あっさり通ったぁー!

 

いやはや、ありがたかったです。この国、公的機関でさえも結構いい加減なので、あっさり行けるかどうかも、運ってことですね。…仕事探しもそうだけど、どんだけ運で生きなくちゃいけないの。。

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