woensdag 1 februari 2012

Work at an embassy, why don'tcha

"Why don't you try your embassy?" people often ask if they hear I'd like to find some work. "They're bound to have a press and communications office." They most certainly do. It so happens that I even know the person who runs that particular office at our embassy (well, I waved at her at a BBQ). This also means that I know there is no vacancy. Still, the suggestion keeps popping up in conversations.

It's common knowledge that if you work at an embassy you don't need a work visa, since the embassy technically is part of your home country - where you're allowed to work. This set some wheels in motion inside my head. The European Union has agreed on free movement of people, goods, services and capital. Technically, that would mean I could work at any European embassy without a Singaporean work permit.

The reasoning is as follows: European treaties and laws trump state laws. Which means that if within the French embassy grounds (for example) French law is upheld, European laws and regulations must also be upheld, since it trumps the French ones. Which means that if the embassy ground is technically France, it  is technically also within the EU, which means as a Dutchie I get to work there without a permit.

This sounded wonderful; the answer to my red-tape fearing prayers. (Well, if my prayers had been to write press releases in French, a gorgeous language in which I have unfortunately but successfully avoided to gain any sort of proficiency, but let's gloss over the practicalities for a moment.)

So, just to be sure I had my facts straight, I asked the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs about the permit situation of local staff in embassies. Their answer was undoubtedly legally sound, but I didn't quite grasp the meaning, not even after a second try, so I turned to the aforementioned local communications person, who has a much more enlightening way of replying.

It turns out that common knowledge is rubbish. You do need a Singaporean permit to work at an embassy if you're not sent out by the ministry on official business. And even if you are, you need to register with the local government, just to make sure they know you're there. (Well, you'd be a diplomat, so in all fairness you probably want them to know you're there too.)

As a child I used to love those puzzles you had to solve by logical thinking. I was never any good at them though.


This is a completely unrelated picture of myself and E. See how she's not like me at all? Good thing I was there when she was born.

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Ik vind het wel slim gedacht van je, eigenlijk. Alleen al daarom mogen ze - welke Europese ambassade dan ook - je wel een baantje aanbieden!

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  2. Misschien een goeie tijd om Spaans en Frans te gaan leren.
    Lijkt me super handig voor de toekomst.
    Thiel

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