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Teachers in Italy Without Visa

 
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egiv



Joined: 18 Sep 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:35 pm    Post subject: Teachers in Italy Without Visa Reply with quote

All discussions aside from actually teaching without a proper visa, have any of the teachers that have done this had problems returning from Italy? I would think that once you have overstayed your visa, you would get stopped in the airport on the way out of the country. However, it's also likely that they don't care, after all you are on your way out, but there is a hefty fine for overstaying the visa. Has anyone heard of, or run into, problems with this?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The official penalty is 10 years ban from the Schengen zone (or maybe the whole EU, I am not sure on this point).

From personal experience, the border guards at many European airports are quite vigilant these days.

I think it's a definite risk.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to clarify my status, I travel on a US passport, and have separate work/residency documents valid in Europe. I only produce the extra documents when asked, and I can swear I've been asked every time this year....I'm a frequent flyer, as I work often at the partner universities to ours here in the Netherlands.

I've been in and out of Rome just once this year, and was asked.
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Luder



Joined: 10 Jul 2004
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Spiral, I travel in and out of Europe on a US passport and have separate documents that give me permission to live and work in France. In other words, nothing in my passport alone lets an immigration officer know I am entitled to stay more than ninety consecutive days in the Schengen area. Oddly, however, I have never been asked by an immigration or customs officer to produce my titre de séjour. I can't see into the future, of course, and methinks those who swear do protest too much, so I won't swear it'll never happen, but I still think it's a safe bet it won't.

I've made these same observations in other threads, and I always get a response along the lines of: "Yeah, but they changed the rules in [add date here] to make it illegal for a tourist to stay in the Schengen area for more than ninety days in any one-year period, so the controls will be tighter than when you could make border runs."

Such arguments, of course, are nonsense, the reddest of red herrings. A tourist--or a "wetback" English teacher--staying ninety-one consecutive days in the Schengen area is not any more and not any less guilty of overstaying now than he would have been ten years ago, before the fateful changes that, for the dimmer minds who often post replies to threads on this subject, will lead to stricter immigration checks at airports and border crossings. In short, the law may well have changed, but arguments that assume that the change in the law will lead to more zealous enforcement of said law are simply fallacious.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps my mind is a bit dimmer Cool
.... the changes in the law may or may not have led to stricter checks.

Regardless, I've been checked repeatedly. As have other non EU passport holders whom I know and know of.

The changes that apply are that the tourist must now stay out for 90 days. One-day border runs were legal in the past.

It is a different world.

Take the risk if you wish, for sure Very Happy
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egiv



Joined: 18 Sep 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have left Italy in particular several times, all legally, but I can't remember ever being asked to show a permesso di soggiorno, especially upon my exit. From my experience, the Italians in the airport might as well be sleeping when they look -- or glance, I should say -- at my passport. As it is, one of the times I entered they stamped the WRONG student visa. However, the current Berlusconi anti-immigrant legislation is certainly scary.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look, guys, I totally don't care if people try working/living illegally. I simply think that they should at least know that risks exist. Yeah, maybe you'll be lucky forever, and no one will ask.

I'm not chancing it, because I've been asked many times, as have lots of other people I know.

I strongly believe that people should know that there IS a risk. Then, if they choose to take it, that's their INFORMED CHOICE!!

Telling people that it won't happen isn't fair. It might. If they're ok with that, OK. Teaching illegally has been a popular choice for some time now. If it's your bag, I'm not going to argue.

I'm just going to continue to do what I can to make sure that people considering making the investment in time and money to come to Europe that there is some risk involved in working/living illegally. My thing. Having seen a few people come to grief for it.
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Lubria



Joined: 10 Sep 2009
Posts: 5
Location: North Italy

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been watching this stupidity for years. I have lived and worked in Northern Italy for the last fifteen years and fail to understand why people continue to put themselves in such a vulnerable position.

I have not met a non-EU teacher (who does not have the right to stay or work in Italy) who has had a smooth ride. I just cannot understand why people WANT to be taken advantage of. In short, you will not get proper medical care, you will not get decent accommodation (it is illegal for landlords to knowingly rent a property/room to people who don't have the right to be in Italy.), you will not receive fair renumeration in a market where EU teachers are already underpaid (from cowboy schools or private students - the more respectable schools won't touch you.) and perhaps most importantly, you won't enjoy Italy in the way you expected as you will be constantly looking over your shoulder wondering if/when you will be found out.

The problem is that being found out or being taken advantage of is not that difficult and could come from the most unexpected avenues. It could be a simple accident while crossing the road, a jilted boy/girlfriend who wants to teach you a lesson, a crooked landlord who throws your belongings in the street at midnight because you refused to accept his 100% rent increase, a private student who turns out to work for the GdF, being in a car that is stopped by the police for speeding, a school that decides not to pay you the last few months salary,... and the list goes on.
The sad thing is that I have not made any of them up. They (and many other examples) have happened to non-EU teachers that I have known over the last few years. I don't know how many times I have been called to the Questura/Tribunale and seen scared and vulnerable people (aged from mid twenties to mid fifties) wondering what is going to happen next. Usually they call their Embassy pleading for help only to be told there is nothing that can be done. The next call is to a very worried relative thousands of kilometres away, requesting financial assistance for legal fees. Bear in mind how difficult it is to find a lawyer who speaks good English.

It is arrogant to think that Italians have a lazy approach to upholding the law. They are now more than ever under enormous pressure from the EU to tighten their borders. That is why so much legislation is being hurried through parliament. You may wish to pay some attention to what has been happening in France in recent days. The finger of blame, to a certain extent, has been pointed at Italy for having such weak border controls.

I'm not saying that non-EU teachers shouldn't come here. What I am saying is - why not do it properly? Why not take your chosen profession a little more seriously. There are reputable schools/institutions in Italy (and throughout the EU) that welcome non-EU teachers and some will even go as far as assisting with the relevant paperwork. I suspect, but obviously cannot be sure, that many of the teachers coming in "under the radar" are unqualified. As a result, in doing things properly, maybe teachers and the TEFL industry would be taken more seriously. Surely, that's a good thing and something worth working towards. Maybe, given a little time, it would go some way to getting qualified teachers paid what they are worth.

However, for the time being, I'm sure some of you will continue to be stubborn with this issue. Moreover, for the time being, I will continue to see some of you in the Questura/Tribunale wondering how it all happened!
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SueH



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Northern Italy

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lubria, I think the person who'll most appreciate that post will be Spiral78 as often she's a voice crying in the wilderness.

I'm from the UK so no such issues, but I'm aware of at least a couple of NA teachers in my very small city in the North. I did wonder how a couple of them got their jobs; some might have been through luck or marriage, but the guy with whom I had an informal chat at the local university when I was looking for work was certainly due to vastly superior qualifications!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm an American working legally in Europe, at a university that went to the trouble to get me a visa. Yes, I have the quals and the contacts.

It's not going to happen for newbie-level teachers, though. You're right - quals, connections (and some luck - there aren't so many jobs open in general right now, for example) can sometimes make it happen. But with just a CELTA or equivalent, well, it's so highly unlikely as to be nearly never...

Sue, you're right - I do appreciate some backup now and then Shocked I'm really not such a wet blanket as a person - but like Lubria, I've seen some horror stories in person, and it's happened to newbies who I knew were given misleading information about their chances of getting work permits and getting in trouble without them.
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egiv



Joined: 18 Sep 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the issue is about whether or not these teachers want to work legally or not. Of course everybody wants to be legal. The problem is that the Italian bureaucracy makes it almost impossible to do it the "legal" way. The best way I have found is to get a student visa, and some schools will claim that you are enrolling in their school to get a student visa and then have you teach there. So the best way to be legal is to illegally falsify a document? Che senso ha? Getting a working visa is like winning the lottery.
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Lubria



Joined: 10 Sep 2009
Posts: 5
Location: North Italy

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I appreciate that Italian bureaucracy is what it is, the same bureaucracy could work against you should you decide to go down the route of falsifying any documents with the intention of procuring the right to stay/work in Italy.

As mentioned in my previous post, these situations DO get found out. The difference here would be very different. Unlike a fine/deportation for “overstaying your welcome”, you would be breaking some quite serious laws that go well beyond simple immigration irregularities. You could, in an extreme case (depending on which documents you gave false declarations), face a custodial sentence. This is not my opinion – I put this scenario to the chief prosecutor and a senior policeman this afternoon. More likely, according to them, would be a suspended sentence, fine and deportation. Remember – cases here take quite a while getting to court so you would probably be placed under house arrest until the hearing. You would then have a criminal record relating to immigration, which would make entering any EU country in the future very problematic.

I’m not trying to dampen spirits – just tread very carefully when it comes to things like this. Italy might seem like it works in the dark ages sometimes, but don’t get too complacent.

A last note. I am not an expert on immigration, nor is my advice here as a teacher - I work in the investigative/legal world. As a result I enjoy good relationships with the police and judiciary. It’s because of this (and that my wife is a teacher) that I have been assisting teachers (and sometimes others) who find themselves in trouble. I do it voluntarily and when I have the time.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the issue is about whether or not these teachers want to work legally or not. Of course everybody wants to be legal. The problem is that the Italian bureaucracy makes it almost impossible to do it the "legal" way.

No one is suggesting that anyone wants to work illegally - of course, you'd get legal papers if you could!

[i]The issue is, when you can't get the papers, are you going to stay in a country (zone, in this case/Schengen) where you are illegal?
[/i]
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1207

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure that this thread will be hijacked by those who say it's perfectly possible to live and work in Italy illegally and that they personally know loads of people doing it etc etc. But I'd just like to add that in the organisation I worked for in Rome, we would never hire an illegal. Just not possible. It didn't matter if the person had unrivalled qualifications or experience, we couldn't do it. If we had been caught, we'd also have faced penalties, and nobody was going to take that risk.
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