Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Important French words : No.1 - "Le Dossier"

One might be forgiven for thinking that the notion of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" only applies to French people, especially when the lower house of the French Parliament votes through yet another reactionary Immigration Bill, designed by that luminary of political intrigue, Nicolas Sarkozy.

This new Bill has nothing to with equality or fraternity and everything to do with protecting cultural hygiene. New immigration bills, no matter where, are normally indicative of a right-wing swerve in any society but as with anything Sarkozy related, this is also an attempt to garner right-wing voters for his bid for the presidency. Isn't it wonderful when you can introduce legislation as part of your future election campaign?

France is already an incredibly difficult country to get legal residency in. I know this first-hand. And I'm also directly affected by this new Bill. Just as I am vulnerable to being forced into accepting a CNE employment contract. Wonder-fucking-ful.

The best part is that I am still liable for all the taxes, even though I have no representation and the bar is being raised even higher by this new Bill.

Even more wonder-fucking-ful ek sĂȘ.

OK Now. But what has this to do with the word "dossier" (noun, masculine - "file") you may well ask?

Well, whether you are a French Citizen or not, any official interaction in France involves a "dossier" of variable weight, and that is where I suppose the equality part is meant to fit into the new Bill; you have to learn how to deal with "dossiers" just like French people would.

As a would-be immigrant, from, say an African country like South Africa, unless you are marrying a French person, you might as well not even bother trying to get in.

Marrying a French person, even more so now, requires a strong fortitude for filling in forms, being medically examined from arse to elbow, a photocopy machine with an endless supply of paper, standing in queues for immigration windows that are only open from 8 am to 10 am four days a week and essentially a desire to become a master at the art of "dossier" compilation.

The normal "dossier" submission process, as I have learnt, entails numerous visits to that inaccessible window. No matter how good you become at pre-compiling a "dossier", you still have to stand in the queue to find out what the exact "dossier" contents has to be as there is invariably no website or helpline to call to verify what is needed beforehand.

Thus "Coming Prepared" is not really an option; you will require a stamped document that just isn't in your possession at that moment in time.

Getting that document will nornally require yet another a separate file or "dossier".

Once that is sorted out, on your return trip, after that endless queue, you will hopefully see your "dossier" being accepted for processing. Usually after a couple of weeks, you are invited back to the queue to receive your Officially stamped document.

Just a tourist Visa to France on a SA passport these days, requires a "dossier" of enormous length and detail, along with all kinds of personal information about your paternal great grandmother. This is the result of the last Bill not so long ago, which also introduced new bureaucratic counter-tourist measures.

And god-forbid you are staying with friends in France, because they have to provide a "dossier" too, pay 15 euros in stamp tax and send a paper receipt to you before you can get your visa. If you do ever intend to holiday in France, be sure to give yourself a long lead time for all the "dossier" preparation. It's already a fucking nightmare getting into France and Sarkozy is happily creating even more work for the hordes of bureaucrats. Kafka must be pissing himself. So sorry if I can't invite you to come and visit me anymore - it's just too much goddamned paper work.

As a foreigner, your first introduction France is most likely to involve a "dossier" before you even enter the country. And it just doesn't stop there. French people seem to take them in their stride, as it is all part of being French or something. Legal immigration into France is a disaster already and I don't think this Bill is going to slow illegal immigration, but rather the opposite; I believe it will lead to an increase because poephols like Sarkozy don't understand people - producing more paper hurdles will just lead to more people jumping the fence and bypassing all the crazy bureaucracy.

Welcome to Fortress Europe.

1 comment:

qrswave said...

well, there go my vacation plans..:)