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The home affairs officer ducks behind a customer: No pictures allowed!

The home affairs officer ducks behind a customer: No pictures allowed!

So I have to submit my request of change of conditions for my work endorsement of my spousal visa at home affairs.

Already at the reception I am greeted with mild confusion. Last time I was given a ticket and there was a number system in place that at least made the queuing fair.

This time not so. Instead of advice I’m being rudely pointed to “Go first floor!”

One floor up however, no one is there. People randomly hanging around, but no-one behind the counters.

After a while somebody dares to come out of their office (the only window plastered with a poster so no-one can look inside). I ask for submission of application and she says the lady is out for lunch. So I enquire: “Where is her replacement?” And she goes and checks. As she comes back she informs me somebody will be coming from upstairs. I ask: “When will that be?” She doesn’t know. As I look at her in disbelief she advises me to complain at the supervisor’s office in the corner.

People are hanging there too. A home affairs employee sits behind a desk. People queue to ask questions. As I’m waiting and my eyes wander I realise I’m looking at a stack of application documents on a shelf that is easily accessible to everyone in the room. These are people’s lives and not to mention all their ID information – all loosely flying around on the open shelf like somebody had just dumped them there.

I wonder if my application from back in 2010, October 14th, is also in one of those piles.

It turns out the person behind that desk is not the supervisor and therefore has no advice or anything else to offer: “The supervisor is out for lunch.” – “Doesn’t that then mean you’re in charge?” – “No, go ask someone else.” – “But there is no-one else!” – “Yes, there is one, go to that lady in the red top.”

So I’m back where I started.

Finally, the lunch break is over. All of a sudden there is movement as the posts are being filled and work is being resumed.

People are nervous when they hand in their documents: Forget just one copy and all the queuing was in vain! That endless wait with no explanation has put people on edge. It’s as if we’re lining up for judgement day.

And indeed: the young guy in front of me has one document missing! He raises his arms in despair and turns around with an expression of agony. Hi girlfriend comforts him as a loud voice resounds from behind them: “Next!”

Every time I queue at home affairs I witness some drama life stories that make your eyes pop.

Luckily I’m well prepared and have all and more of the documents required. All gets stapled together and I receive my Acknowledgement of Receipt form. Hurray!

I quickly confirm with the home affairs officer: “When is your lunch break? Is it from 12 to 1?” I get a puzzled look. “I’m just checking, as it probably makes more sense then to come after 1pm.” – “Yes”, she confirms: “After one is good”.

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