My Work Permit: This year is much easier

Unlike the last 2 years, my work permit extension for this year is much easier. Even better, my wife and I got 2 years extension 🙂

Everything was started 3 months before.

Normally, you have to wait for the immigration office (Auslanderbehoerde) to send you an appointment letter via post. Last year, the letter came 10 days before my permit ended. When we met the officer, we found out that we need an approval from the state job agency (Arbeitsamt) which took another 4 weeks. For almost 1 month, I couldn’t work…

So this year, I wrote an e-mail (in German) to them asking for earlier appointment. I’m lucky to have my friend to help me translating the e-mail 😉 It took 2 weeks to get a reply. They send me an appointment letter via post. Strangely, even though I wrote the e-mail 3 months in advance (explaining why and including the last year’s nightmare), they still gave me an appointment in early October, which was 8 days before the expired date of my permit.

So I talked to my HRD, asked her nicely to help me. She contacted the immigration office, wrote them e-mails, fax them some my documents, and make sure that 10 days was actually enough to get my visa extended. After 2 weeks, she get an confirmation e-mail. The e-mail stated that I don’t have to get approval from the Arbeitsamt since I have been working on the same company for the last 2 years.

On the appointment date, 5th of October, we went to immigration office. We went directly to the officer room, gave him our documents, and got a waiting number. One hour later, he gave us our new permits and explained that we got 2 years permit 😯

He was nice to us and we left after saying thank you with a big smile 🙂

Everything went well! On our new permit, we are allowed to work on any company or even do freelancing 🙂

Thanks to Doreen, my HRD, for being patient enough dealing with the immigration stuff 😉

Arcade Game

One of my office friends is making his own arcade game cabinet. He was lucky enough to get the game’s electronic board from eBay. The game was Xain’d Sleena, a platformer -shooter game from Technos Japan (1986), which was his favorite when he was kid. He told me that sometimes he played it with his father.

Xain'd Sleena

Xain'd Sleena, image courtesy from

This reminds me of myself, who also grows up playing arcade games. Thanks to MAME, I can play again all those games. Unfortunately, there is one game, which is really really my favorite but not playable in MAME: SKY ROBO or Tatakae Big Fighter. A shooter game with a mecha-robo.

Tatakae Big Fighter - Sky Robo

Tatakae Big Fighter (Sky Robo), image courtesy from

I don’t really know why I love this game. Maybe because the amount of coins I spent playing it, how suck I was in shooting game, the memory, or maybe just the nostalgia factor 🙂

So what’s your favorite arcade game?

My Work Permit Problem. Not Again…

Another problem with my German work permit. I guess I am always not lucky when dealing with the German immigration thingy 🙁

Last year, it was hell. I had to struggle for 8 months to get my work permit. For 1 month (Nov 2008) I couldn’t work at all since my permit was pending 😐

It happens again this year.

Just 2 weeks ago, I went to the immigration office to extend my work permit. They had set an appointment by sending me a mail a week before my permit expired. Normally, extending work permit is quite fast. You can get it on the same day. Just bring the job contract and the latest pay slips.

Somehow, there was a mistake on a document which was issued by the state job-agency (Arbeitsagentuer)  last year! The document said that I only get 1 year contract job instead of unlimited contract. This is a mistake since from the beginning, my job contract is clearly stated as unlimited and they should have noticed this. The immigration said that they couldn’t do anything and I have to re-apply my work permit which could take another 4-5 weeks 😯

After a long discussion and I even make them talk directly with my HRD person via phone, there is no other way than to re-apply my work permit. I have to start over. Somebody at the German bureaucracy has accidentally pressed the reset button 👿

So since  14 of Oct, I have to stop working until I get my work permit.

This is really bad situation for my employer too. I was in the middle of a project and it was on critical part. The product was almost on its release date and I was the Flex lead programmer. My bosses were panic and they have to change a lot of things in a very short time.

My biggest worry that in the future, my employer might have to think twice before giving a critical position to an immigrant. Hopefully, this will not happen.

It’s really hard to explain this case to other Germans. Usually, their reaction is like ‘impossible’ or ‘unbelieveable’. Maybe they didn’t know how bad their immigration is. At first, my bosses even thought this was my mistake that I forget to bring a document or did something bad. I had to explain my case to them that it was not my fault 🙁

Well, I will take this time to take a break and put all my force to finish my game project 😉

Life goes on!

My Work Permit, I Got it

Finally, I just got my work permit 🙂 Hurrayyy!!! 

It takes me 7 months and 6 times going to the immigration office to get a one-year-work-permit for me and a one-year-stay-permit formy wife. I feel very very relieved and happy 🙂 I can start working again this Monday.

These are some tips which can help you to get a German work permit. This is only based on my experience, so there is no guaranty 🙄

Pray a lot. Even if you have qualified to get one, it is the immigration office who decides whether you can get your permit or when you can get it. Sometimes, I feel like it is based on their mood. Some people can get the permit in just 2-3 weeks while others have to wait for months. Some people can pass by providing just the required documents, some might have to provide additional documents like translated CV/resume. So don’t forget to pray a lot or bring your 4 leaf clover or other lucky charms 😉

Be nice and professional. Wear more formal outfits, silent you mobile phone, and prepare all the required documents (especially your biometric photos). Try to put a smile on your face 🙂 Try your best not to make the immigration offices feels angry. It will suffer you or the person after you.

Bring a native German with you, if possible. Even if you can speak German very well. Preferable, someone related to your job (your boss, HRD person, or colleague) and knows about German immigration law (a little bit is OK). Not all Germans know and aware that there is a big problem in German immigration, so make sure that you tell your case to your colleague/boss/HRD person. Even better, hire an immigration lawyer!

My colleague said to me that good things come to those who waits but in my case (or most people’s cases), good things come to those who fights.

Good luck!

Work at Home

In the beginning of this month, me and my wife went again to the immigration office for applying for my work permit. It’s been a looong battle between us and the German immigration office.

Unfortunately until now, I haven’t got my work permit. Even worse, the immigration decided to postpone the process until the end of this month. This means that I am not allowed to work my full time job since I have worked for 90 days. As a foreign student in Germany, you are only allowed to work for 90 days full-time job or 180 days half time job.

We have tried our best to make the next process faster but no luck. The immigration insisted that we have to wait until 30th of October in order to know whether they are going to process our document or not. And then, it might take another 2 to 3 weeks to decide whether I am going to get my work permit or not 😯

So since last week, I work at home. I am not fired but my job contract is pending until I got my work permit.

I use this opportunity as a chance for me to re-think my goal in life and whether my struggling with the immigration office is worth it.

Stay Positive

I need to focus and re-work my creative part before my next game project.

One thing that I realized that for the last 3 months, I didn’t play any video game (Except Eye Toy kinetic for sport). I was too busy working my full time job and doing the thesis. I decided to do some research of current indie games, looking for ideas. I really love this job 🙂

Now I am playing several demos from the Comicket C74 and indie games from IndieCade festival. So far, Polarity is my favorite one (screenshot above). It is a puzzle platformer game. The game is quite short (less than 20 minutes) and reminds me Megaman or Rockman. You can download the game for free from their website here.