The US postal service won’t be stopped, and neither shall I! I’ve been away from my beautiful bride for far too long. Yes, it’s much easier being able to see her and hear her all day every day, but it’s not the same, of course, and i’m anxious to continue my life and turn my plans and dreams into realization. Even if we were to decide that it would be more feasible for her to move here, I would still choose Ireland without hesitation. I love the country, the people, the culture. Irish people are much more easy going in general, more friendly. It’s not a false front either usually. Here, people are harder to gauge and navigating the social world can be confusing, angering, and tricky. I’ve always been a study of human mannerisms, behavior, and psychology. I observe my surroundings and study people, and have since I was little. I studied psychology in college, before realizing that I really don’t want to listen to nothing but problems for my career. In New York, it’s pretty handy, granted, other states are different and in many areas, people are very up front and friendly like Ireland. When I meet people around the town i’ll be living, and when i’ve met my wife’s family and friends, I felt genuine friendliness and interest, as well as generosity.
People of Ireland: I absolutely love the fact that you take bank holidays so seriously! We have federal holidays here, but not nearly as many. And never for just no reason but that it’s a “Bank Holiday!” Store hours are also much shorter in general, there are very few 24 hour businesses of any kind, and the overall pace (outside of Dublin) is a much slower paced life than i’m used to. The pressure and stress seem to just fade into the background when i’m in Ireland. No, i’m not being an idealistic fool that’s in love and enchanted by the country and it’s touristy charms… I know it’s a cloudy, rainy, windy, and stressful country just like any other. I suppose it’s when compared to the American way of life, and work culture, it’s just right for me, while it may not be for someone else. Another favorite thing of mine is when the clock hit’s about 1700 or some other number that feels right for the day, the streets start emptying as everyone filters home and to the pubs, maybe to a match.
I have been finding things that really make me want to start knocking my head against a brick wall though. BUREAUCRACY! I thought it was bad here… my GOD Ireland, why have you forsaken me!? You’re rebels of the toughest sort… and your constitution is progressive for it’s time, how did this happen?!
I’ll give you an example. My wife needed me to get my tax and income info to her for something, so I sent it and thought it would be the last I heard about it. HA! A few days later I had to send more info, as well as bank statements. A few days after that, I forget what else they asked for, but they did ask. I’d say it was about a week later, they started asking her for my PPS number. She explained to them AGAIN, after they had my address in the US, bank statements, and IRS official tax forms, that I was an American citizen, and not yet living in Ireland. “HE LIVES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!” This did nothing but confuse the woman on the other end of the phone, and she told my wife that she would have to call her back once she figured out what to do next. They called again in a day or two and another person asked for my non-existent PPS number AGAIN. The boss (my wife) told the lady on the other end of the phone everything that had happened and that I “was American, blah blah blah” and the woman told her that she’d find out what was going on and get back to her. She was told that I need to get a PPS number, and sent me an application to fill out. So I filled out the application with no room for misinterpretation, included the necessary documents, and sent it off to a government office to be processed, the same government body that requested I get the PPS number (Keep this in mind.)
A week later I get a reply, stating that they are denying the application because I needed a written request by someone stating that I need a pps number for their purposes, like a letter from a solicitor about probate, or buying property, etc.. !
So…I call my wife, confused as to why the same people that were asking for me to get a pps number, were denying my application because I needed reason for one! She called them back and was told that they don’t understand why, and that I should state why I needed it, and that it was for the office.
I sent the forms back out AGAIN. This time, a week later when the forms arrived back to me denyed for the second time, none of the reasons for denial were checked…So now they were denying it, but didn’t have a reason! They just included a form that said that I needed to go to my local office and apply in person. You read that right, yes, they sent me a letter, to the United states, which requires a bit more effort on their part, saying that I should come on down in person and apply! I stared at it in disbelief and literally stared for about 2 minutes or so with my mouth open. Then I laughed. It was hilarious at this point.
My wife called them very frustrated this time and made sure she talked to the higher up to tell her what was going on. The woman was nice, and did take an interest in the case. She gave us the email of a gentleman in her office that would take it on and I could email him directly instead of mailing the forms back and forth since they were already stamped and ready to go, minus the request they needed. I know that at least once I had to go through it with him as well, until the lady my wife talked to jumped in and talked to him herself.
Many weeks later with no contact from them, I finally got my PPS number in the mail! So, this is what i’ve learned:
- The inter-government communications in Ireland are non-existent.
- There are too many stipulations, rules, and fine print in even the most basic transactions when the government are involved.
- Someone at the office in C****** ** ******* has a vendetta against O’Briens
- I have to take up meditation regularly.
- i’m going to have white hair by the time I get my citizenship.
I proposed to my wife knowing that any problem we would face, we could tackle it together. We weren’t to be deterred by a little ocean between us; so why would we let anything else get in the way of our happiness and what we knew was right and meant to be? A little while later, when I was back home in the US, she came out of nowhere and said: “let’s just do it.” No waiting, planning, big family wedding (YET…) She wanted to be married to me, and I, her. I couldn’t have been happier. She already had accepted my proposal when I was just there, but we didn’t want to wait a couple years to get married. We decided we would get married when I came back next.
Let’s set aside that mushy stuff though and take a look at Ireland’s immigration policies, which all this has been leading up to.
Ever since Ireland was one of the first countries to join the EU, a gradual tightening of immigration laws has been happening. With the borders open to other EU citizens, many more non-Irish people were coming to find work and a living in Ireland, among other places. With a global recession in the 2000’s came the need to even stronger measures as unemployment started to get to a high level, and the economy was taking a downturn. “The Troubles” were becoming a more distant memory but not distant enough, and the celtic tiger was losing it’s stripes… and the amazing improvements in the educational system were going to take much more time to show results. In 2009, many strict laws were passed that made it extremely difficult for non-EU citizens to get work permits in Ireland, amongst other things that got more difficult. If you want to move to Ireland as a non-EU citizen, you have to have a job offer on the table for at the very least 60,000 euro a year on paper from the employer. This requires extra work on the employer’s part, so unless they are salivating to hire you, you have a very unique or in demand skillset, and they can’t find anyone in the EU to hire, forget about that road. There aren’t many jobs being listed at that pay grade anyway, and that’s not even taking into account that 60,000 is just the base level, they won’t even consider you if you have a job offer for less, unless it’s on a list of very specific careers (there aren’t many jobs on that list and they are things like aeronautical engineer, and Jesus)
Ok, so that option is out, I’ll just start my own business! NO! don’t think that you can get away that easy! You have to have at LEAST 300,000 euro to invest in your new business venture, capital. Small businesses that are doing well don’t even have that kinda dough usually. They want companies like google, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing, etc. Not a guy that’s going to just create a few jobs.
Ok, so what’s left?
Not much… asylum, or pray that I can find some documentation of my great grandfather that wasn’t burned by the English and claim citizenship that way. So I was getting to an impasse, I didn’t like how it would look to other people if we got married before I got there, even though we knew it was right, and our reasons were pure enough, nobody else would see that. We decided to do it anyway already, so it made things easier. For this, I am fortunate. I don’t know if I would have moved to Ireland if it wasn’t for my wife, even though I have always wanted to live there. I would have just had to tuck tail and run back to America! I feel for the people who don’t have a spouse who is an EU citizen yet want to move to better themselves. There are SO MANY small business opportunities across the country! Too many empty storefronts in every town, too many unemployed people to go with them. Why only create a whole bunch of minimum wage jobs, when there are plenty of places for small business entrepreneurs as well? I am looking forward to the day that I can contribute a few jobs created into the market. I want to contribute more than just taxes and my dashing good looks to Ireland 😉 It’s my new home, the place I want to raise a family. I love it already, and it seems that Ireland has been trying to do everything it can to keep me away.
That’s not going to happen Dail, county council, etc… so give up already!