Moving abroad, to Malaysia was something we had wanted to do for a while. We visited a few years ago, got engaged whilst in Lang Tengah and just fell in love with the country. We’d hoped to both get jobs and travel at weekends and during holiday time but both getting a job proved difficult and the dream dwindled as fear of not working took over.
So when Ben was offered an opportunity to work here for a year we decided to take a risk and just do it, as these kinds of opportunities do not come around often. I searched frantically, panicking about being unemployed, not a situation I’ve ever been in before. Being fiercely independent since, lets say about 5, the thought of not making my own money and more importantly not doing something productive with my time scared me.
Why I won’t be working here
A dry employment market due to a downturn in the economy here, meant schools weren’t hiring as rapidly as they were when I was looking a few years ago, especially not in my non-compulsory subject of D&T. So I had to come to Malaysia as an unemployed house wife (yes I’ve had to tick boxes on forms to that effect) something that makes me a little uneasy to say the least.
Working out the various options of how to live here proved difficult, especially as I wouldn’t be working. The only way I could officially live here is via a Dependant pass on Ben’s Work Pass, another thing my fierce independent self wasn’t too keen on.
So we applied for our passes and to our surprise everything was authorised on the stipulation that we provide our wedding certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on arrival. Great!
On arrival at customs our passports are stamped, giving us a date to authorise our passes by. A month I thought, amazing we just have to hand in the certificate that wont take too long – wrong!
Red Tape Issues
So on good advice we went down to Putrajaya, to MOFA to hand in said certificate to find out not only are we in the wrong place but that they wont accept it because it isn’t certified. After long conversations about what that means, why we had been sent there and what are we supposed to do now, a lovely lady asks us what the problem is. She proceeds to tell us she had the same issues and that she had to send documents back to the UK to get them certified and then submit them.
After much more research, getting quite huffy and calling and emailing many people we find that certifying can be done here and promptly have it done. Everything is sent off and we breathe a sigh of ‘wow-that-was-complicated-but-now-done’ relief. Only to find that after water testing the certified copy of the certificate (WTF) it’s not the original and we have our documents refused again.
We locate the original and are ready to resubmit (this is now 3 weeks down the line from that original stamp) and realise that in our naivety of the situation we booked a trip to Borneo in 7 days time. You couldn’t make this up!
So after a fraught few weeks we seem to have a solution – for the time being, are armed with our passports and are going to have a long weekend off in Borneo to recover, yep I’d hate me too.
Things I’ve learnt
- If you’re moving to another country or even taking a trip, do your own research. A lot of the back and forth could have been saved if we’d done some research of our own.
- Don’t book trips when your passport is being held by government departments.
- You have no control over the situation so try not to get too wound up – easier said than done.
- Being a dependant isn’t so bad, maybe I’ll finally loosen up and give myself a break.
- I need to start doing something more productive with my time, building something for my return to the UK. So maybe giving myself a break isn’t on the cards after all!
See my other musing on life… here