Thursday, April 01, 2010
As I mentioned on Twitter I spent a good chunk of the last two days gathering forms and applying for a new visa. The "education" work visa I received in 2007 is up this summer and having gotten my money's worth I figured now was the time to finally switch over to a spouse visa. Yes, I could have gotten one as soon as Mako and I got married, but it would have definitely been a single year visa which would mean an extra trip to the immigration office (not to mention more fees). So I rode out my work visa to make everything a little easier.
Convenience comes with a price, it seems. Based on the "curt" phone call we received today, the people in the visa office were suspicious as to why I waited nearly three years to apply for a spouse visa. They started making phone calls and I guess I they gave this assignment to the one person in the office who spoke English because that person found my blog and Wired Game|Life.
One phone call to my Board of Education revealed that my freelance writing career is incompatible with my present work visa. While none of this would, strictly speaking, have any bearing on my new spouse visa, the fact that I've been sneaking in non-education work on the side means that everything I submitted to them is now being treated as potentially false.
What does this mean? Right now I don't have any answers. Nothing has been revoked (YET) but clearly the immigration people are upset. My BoE is upset. The JET coordinators in Osaka are upset. That's way too many upset people for this story to end on a happy note.
My options are extremely limited at this point. I haven't technically been punished yet for technically breaking the law and I have to wait and see what they decide before I take any action. This website offers some hope, as there are cases there similar to mine where everything ended up (more or less) restored to normal. Certainly, there's no prison time on the table or anything crazy like that, but there could be a steep fine or even deportation (though that's an extreme example).
Points on my side? I'm not that easy to replace because I work in elementary schools where a fair amount of Japanese knowledge is required to communicate. I am, in fact, married to a Japanese national and we have a baby who is also a Japanese national. Without me in the picture they would have no means of supporting themselves and would likely be forced to leave with me. Japan is stupid sometimes but they rarely deport their own.
OK, it seems waaaaay too many people fell for this so I'm just going to stop you right there: WHAT DAY IS IT TODAY? Where does that link above go to? Sorry if anyone was actually scared.
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