Hello-hello and welcome to another episode of the BigAppleSchool podcast, where the goal of the show is to help you improve your English trough your listening skills. My name is Benjamin. I'm from London. And today I'm joined by three guests. Our first guest today is...
Ken from the Philippines.
And last but not least...
Excellent. And today's topic is going to be visas and immigration. So let's get started with our first question. So what are some of the main reasons as to why people choose to immigrate to other countries? Why did we all immigrate to Russia? Well, maybe not Katya.
Why did we immigrate to Russia and do we.. Would call ourselves immigrants in Russia?
May I ask you a quick question first?
So when I was looking through like the plan and you know what we were going to talk about, I noticed two words, an immigrant and an expat.
Can you, first of all, explain the difference between the two?
Yeah, sure. So it's actually kind of a controversial thing now because expats.. I could technically say I'm an expat here in Russia, whereas in England you would call people who moved from other countries that are not English speaking countries, you would call them immigrants. Expats are basically people from the English speaking world who move to other countries. So there is some people dislike this because they feel that maybe this there's racism involved other people. Yeah, I don't really think it's that big of a deal. But yeah, there's a little debate around this subject. So basically expats for people from the English speaking world, immigrants from non-English speaking world.
Really? That's rather interesting because what I found out is expat short for expatriate is anyone who lives and works in a country that is not of their citizenship.
Yeah. That's why I thought..
Temporarily. Although, it is also possible if you renounce your citizenship, you can also be referred to as an expat. However, in terms of being an immigrant, it's more of on a permanent basis.
Well, you can be an American expat in the UK, for instance.
So wait. So that means that an expat as someone who's temporarily move, well, living in another country whereas an immigrant is someone who plans to settle down in that country and get..
I'm not actually sure if temporary or permanent status is taken into consideration here, but at least I don't feel that. Maybe there is a more official definition. But the way I've understood it to be is that, yeah, people from the English speaking world, if they move out of their home country, then, yeah, they're technically an expat whereas an immigrant is just someone from the non-English speaking world who moves to any other country.
Can we just use those terms interchangeably today?
Well, I guess maybe I could. Well, I would definitely call myself.. I could call myself an expat or an immigrant in Russia. Yeah.
Is it? That's interesting, because I see myself more as an expat, like a Filipino expat in Russia. But I wouldn't personally consider myself an immigrant because it has this underlying meaning that I want to live here permanently. Which is not the case. At least not right now.
Oh, yeah, we've heard of your dreams to get a жигули. You know... Buy a дача.
Yeah, I'm a migrant. An immigrant here in Russia.
You should have been born in a different country I think.
Maybe. Okay. So, yeah. Why do people choose to immigrate to different countries? Just general reasons.
Comfort zone. Changing comfort zones.
Experience a different culture.
And climate I would say for sure. Some people want to move to a warmer country and other people..
Someone like you guys decided to move to Siberia.
Punished ourselfs.Decided to come to Siberia.
Well, to be honest, the summer here is actually gorgeous. It's lovely over here. So it's, yeah, well, as the British. I would say Siberian summer, British summer, they're kind of similar, but pretty muggy and hot. Yeah. So. Okay. All right. Well. Hmm. Can you name any famous immigrants or expats?
I would say, ah, Albert Einstein. I mean. I mean, you know, World War Two, in order for him to escape. Then he moved to America, and he eventually became an American citizen.
You know, it's kind of difficult to, you know, come up with names because sometimes, you know, you don't even know that these people are immigrants or expats. Someone.
But America obviously is an immigrants nation. The country was formed by people migrating to the States. And that's why everyone in America has a huge range of different last names.
Yeah, America is like a melting pot. Yeah.
Yeah, exactly. But nowadays, I guess you wouldn't call people who live in America immigrants unless they are first generation immigrants. Because people have settled and had generations living in America. Whereas back in the early 20th century, 19th century, people would come from all across the world: Italy, China. Yeah. From everywhere.
Oh. And somebody else came to my mind. If you know Nadia Comaneci. She's a Romanian gymnast. Well, obviously, you know, from Romania and then moved to the United States.
Well, yeah. And did she and did she speak English before she came to America?
Well, yes, but not so well. But now, of course, she speaks very well. Although you can still hear her, you know, native Romanian accent.
Yeah. And, yeah, I'm quite fascinated as to how she learned English to a high level, because a lot of people live in America and don't even speak English. Which is quite interesting.
Oh, because, you know, they surround themselves with, you know, expats or immigrants just like them.
Yeah, they live in the diaspora. If you go to Brighton Beach in New York City, it's stuck in the nineties, basically. But there are a lot of people who don't even speak English. Like you've lived in New York City for, like, 10-15 years. How come?
Yeah, it is kind of funny.
That's why that leads us to one problem of immigration. Especially, well, I don't know if we're going to touch on that now.
We are. We're going to talk about the positives and negatives of immigration in a few minutes, actually. But Brighton Beach. So tell me more about that. Because they have a Russian, Ukrainian, um, maybe Belarussian community out there. Can you remember?
That's basically a Soviet community. So they have people from all over these Soviet, ex-Soviet countries. And what is funny is that it really gives you the feeling that they're stuck in the nineties. You know, with the signs, the shop signs, the level of service is just as horrible as it was back then, you know, and they have.. It's just so weird because they sell things that were common, you know, in the Soviet era, you know, stupid souvenirs or something like that. All those newspapers. And what is funny is when you come there and you see women wearing fur coats, heels, lots of gold, you know, like golden rings, golden earrings. Do you like.. No, why? No, why?
Yeah. I believe it was shown in the famous film Брат, Брат 2, which..
And you know what? It came out in, what, 1990 something, like 1995 or something? Nothing has changed. Nothing seems to have changed in Brighton Beach since then.
Oh, yes. Well, I mean, last time I went there was about, I guess, ten years, not ten years ago, about five years ago. It was a real charming place. And another thing, well, coming back to a similar topic is Chinatown. Chinatowns in almost every major city. I love Chinatowns because you feel like, I mean, not like you're in China, but you feel like you're almost in China. Do you have a Chinatown in Turkey? In Istanbul?
Yeah. It's kind of a little corner of the main square of Istanbul, but not that big neighborhood. Kind of like a couple of shops. A couple of, like, food stalls kind of thing. But like 4 or 5 of them. That's it.
Yeah. I guess it's only usually in big capitals. Usually they have them. Did you see a Chinatown in Boston, Katya?
Oh, yeah. I've been there on many occasions just because there are so many cool places to eat and everything. I've been to Chinatown in Seattle, Washington D.C. So I love to.. I love these places. They're very vibrant. You know, there's something about them.
Do you have a Chinatown in the Philippines?
Actually, we have, because there are a lot of Chinese nationals in my country. And in Manila, we have the biggest Chinatown in the country. And, actually, we go there sometimes for, you know, cheaper shopping, depending on the item, of course. But, yeah, we also love Chinese cuisine. So, yeah, we do have one. Well not one but several of them.
Well, I guess.. Well moving on to the positives and negatives of immigration. The positive sides — well, Chinatown. I love Chinatowns everywhere. I love going to the.. Or you can eat buffets and..
When you say positive sides of immigration, do you mean for the country or for the immigrants themselves?
Yeah, you see, that's a good point. Because we have to see which perspective we're looking at.
It's a very, very big subject as well. It's not, it's not like all immigrants are the same.
Or we can discuss both, both sides.
Let's just talk about in general. So, obviously, cultural vibrancy. You have..
Chinatowns and.. Go to London, you have all sorts of restaurants and, well, it's not just the restaurants, but, yeah, mainly.
Well, I mean, a lot of countries can benefit from having immigrants because that's new workers. That's people with unique experience. And also people who are very often bilingual at least. So, you know, and these, these can be professionals that are much needed in many areas.
Yeah. And sometimes, yes, some industries need..
Yeah. Labor force. 'Cause some countries are lacking in, um, yeah, lacking immigrants or lacking workers. Excuse me. So, yeah. Are there a lot of migrants to Turkey? I guess there are, aren't there? From..
Nowadays. Yeah. Yeah. Suffering from that one. Most of them are kind of not kind of registered. So they're just trying to pass the border and try to reach the capital or Istanbul.
Are these.. Are these asylum seekers, refugees or you talking about immigrants who moving for..?
You know what? That's, that's all mixed right now. No one knows if they are immigrants or refugees and they're all mixed up. And they.. I don't think they don't even know about that by themselves So...
I've heard about a problem which was caused by this huge wave of immigration to Turkey that now it's almost impossible to rent a place for the locals. 'Cause I have a friend who's getting.. Who's engaged to a Turkish man, and she says that they want to find an apartment. She says we can't because the prices just skyrocketed. Like became 2-3 times more expensive.
So it's like, you know, this artificial sort of like skyrocketing the prices. It's..
It happens because of immigrants in a way. So they try to sell or rent their houses like kind of astronomical prices.
Which is, I think, one of the points of the negative side of immigration.
Oh, yeah. We're going to move on to that, but what other positives? So workforce and culture..
Yeah, I guess, yeah, it is cool when you go to a big major city, you have a lot of..
Yeah, it can be cool, but.. All right, well, let's, yeah, I mean, obviously that's nice.
I think it's gonna be like both a mix of positive and negative sides, you know, while we talk.
Yeah. Well, okay. All right. So we were talking about the inflation of rental prices. Well, I guess this is happening. This happens, to be honest, all over the world in major cities. In Manila do you have a similar phenomena when people from of islands moving?
Yeah. Well, you know, the good thing about the Philippines, it's we're still a homogeneous country. Yeah. So I don't think there are a lot of immigrants. I mean, of course there are immigrants who come to the country because they're married to Filipinos. Yeah. I mean, you know, male, female, Filipino. Anyway, so mostly for that reason or some of them, they want to set up their own business so they own businesses in my country. Yeah, but then they have to marry a local because if you're a foreigner, you cannot own a business and have it named after yourself. It has to be.
Yeah. That's why, you know.. I know it's kind of like questionable sometimes because they would put the name of a Filipino. Yeah, but then the real owner is in fact a foreigner because to this day, it's still prohibited for a foreigner to own actually own a business.
Even if you have a permanent residence, if you have permanent residency in the Philippines, you can't own a business?
Well, unless you become a Filipino citizen.
Oh, you know, I think it's kind of protecting local businesses.
Yeah. So, yeah. And interesting, and also, of course, you just had a new president elected.
Yeah. Which.. And so I believe.. Sara Duterte the daughter..
She will be the new vice president. Right. And then the new president. Well, Western media call him the son of a dictator, which is not true. Anyway, but I don't want to sound political, but I'm just happy that our new president will be, you know, he's open to, of course, foreigners who would like to eventually immigrate to our country. So yeah, that's a good for foreigners.
I know that some countries have these sort of business visas, you know...
Actually we're going to talk all about visas. I love visas.
It's also happening now in Turkey.
A lot of people listening to this show probably want to hear a lot about visas.
Oh, there is a new type of visa these days. Oh, I can't wait.
Speaking of the negative sides of immigration, but not from the point of view of the place, but for the immigrants themselves. Culture shocks and assimilation. It's so, so difficult, especially when you don't know the language of the country well and you face these difficulties wherever you go. So and it's very often is just, you know, so hard and challenging. The people, you know, they start to get depressed. They start to question, you know, whether they should have done this or shouldn't have done this. And especially with people who are refugees, they can't go back. That's it. They've made their choice. So it's, it's just, you know, extremely difficult sometimes to be, to be an immigrant.
Ugur you've just moved here? What kind of what, six months ago.
I can't believe how quickly the time goes. Would you say you've had a huge culture shock or because you've lived in many countries it's not so bad.
Actually, Russia is, I guess, one of the easiest one that I can adapt myself. Because in Turkey we have lots of Russian citizens living in Turkey, so I'm kind of used to them, in a way. Yeah. So the only thing that I, I, I feel myself a little bit stranded is a language barrier. So, but I'm eventually start to kind of understand what's being said and I'm trying to say couple of words, so it's gonna be better.
Do you find it, I mean, somewhat easy to to communicate in a shop if you need something or, I mean, have you ever been in that situation yet where you really need something and you've tried to communicate?
No. You know, if I need something so bad and if I can't express myself, I just use my Google translate and just, All right, can you please look at this?
This is the easiest way. So I haven't had any kind of things.
Well, let's come back to. Yeah. So positives and negatives of immigration itself. So, yeah.
You know, my stance on immigration. I'm okay. I am more pragmatic about it. Because okay, immigration is good if the people that you allow to enter your country are those who are, you know, well qualified and can contribute something great to the society, to the economy.
Right. And, personally, I believe it should be based on merit. You cannot just come to a country and say, Hey, I want to move to your country. But you have to, you know, present something to the table because they don't want to have any burden.
That's what Canada has, doesn't it? They have the poinе system, right, where you have to, like, apply for a ... Answer the questions.
Yeah. Like, are you, like, married? What's your age, what's your experience and everything?
Or as does the UK..? Well, just after we we left the European Union, it's, it's going to more points based system. Well maybe..
I believe so. That that was that was the pledge of the the government at the time.
It sounds very promising because one thing about Canada was that it was kind of easy because if you're a professional, you know that you're going to get enough points to be allowed to work there. Of course, you need to take, you know, the IELTS exam and everything. But still, it was very clear, it was transparent. You have these many points, you don't have enough, Ok.
Wait, wait. This is all visas. We're going to move straight onto this year. We're going..
Oh, it's not really a visa as such because then after this you still have to apply for a visa, but at least you know at the beginning before you even try to apply for anything, you see whether you..
Can or cannot go and work there. 'Cause then you know, you have this calculator basically and sometimes you see, okay, not enough points. Sorry.
What she's talking about, it's not exactly about visa, but you know, the considerations for immigration, if you will be allowed or accepted.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, more recently, obviously. Well, always the topic of immigration has always been a very heated subject. Because it's..
Speaking of which. Yeah, I just want to continue. Now on the other side, I think that some people who immigrate, the problem is that they are unwilling to adapt to the culture of their host country. I mean, I don't think that's fair because if you move to a country, you should be the one adapting yourself instead of the country adapting to you.
Like the saying goes 'When in Rome do as Romans do'.
Yeah, that's exactly it. Yeah. Yeah.
And that the problem with some immigrants is that they don't even want to learn the language, which is, you know, if you really respect the country, you would want to learn the language. At least. At the very least. Right.
And then not just that, you try to obey the rules, the law of the country. You don't just go there and break it and say, Anyway, this is not how it goes in my culture. But then again, you don't, you know, it's not your country anymore. It's, I mean, you know, it's another country and you have to be able to follow the rules there. Yeah. I mean, I sound very critical, but that's just the way it is.
Well, a good word for our listeners 'vetting procedure'. A vetting procedure means that you examine a particular individual for any discrepancies, anything that might not be positive, positive on their side. Does the Philippines have a vetting procedure for prospective immigrants?
Well, I suppose we have, but unfortunately, I don't know about these procedures.
Well, you are on the other side, you know, being a citizen, they usually don't know what the rules of your country.
Turkey? Do you vet immigrants before they come into the country?
Nowadays, everything is completely just..
Yeah. So as far as I know for a couple of months to now, they only need to show their residency in their own country. So there's a kind of a selection process, but I don't think that's kind of that strict process because everyone is going in Turkey right now without..
Well, coming back to the Brexit, when when Brexit happened. One of the biggest and one of the biggest factors behind Britain leaving the European Union was was immigration. And the fact that people could not be vetted if they were coming from the European Union or if they were. Yeah. Or if they had a European Union visa so we could not do checks on them. But now um, apparent.. Well, if you come to the country legally, you're not going to be checked anyway. But, this was yeah. Basically now you can be when you get to the border, you should be pulled aside and people will ask you a lot of questions. I remember many, many years ago, I, I was very lucky. I went to Canada. We had a family holiday there, but I was not on the same flight as my family. And it was a beautiful holiday. But anyway, um, as soon as I got off the plane, the Canadian border authorities, they pulled me aside and they said, Hey, what the hell are you doing here? You've got three passports. And this is like, Why are you here? What are you trying to do? And and I said, Oh, no, I'm just here on holiday with my family. And they were really grilling into me.
So, you know, you would expect it to be easier to travel with three citizenships, you know.
But it's rather suspicious.
I thought it was strange because I had luckily thank God I have U.S. citizenship. Um, but, and I thought, okay, that's not really that suspicious of U.S. and U.K.. Which was really interesting. Yeah. They pull me aside.
So it's you Brazilian passport that they..
Maybe. But Brazilians are regarded to be some of the friendliest.. Well I think there was a study somewhere, like some of the friendliest tourists in the world.
Oh, that's good for them.
I'm Brazilian. So I don't really understand that. Yeah, it was quite.. To be honest, I didn't really care. I wasn't that.. Well, I thought, okay, he's the Canadian border guard, he has to do his job. He has to make sure no one's bring drugs into the country or whatever. So I didn't really care. But some people might, they might not like that.
Well, the thing is that with the border authorities, you also never know. I think that they like checks and, you know, everything is so random.
And I wonder if, um. I don't want to say this, but I don't know if racism comes into play whenever they make their judgment. I don't know. Because, you know, let's be honest, even some countries, they say that they're very welcoming and accepting, but you never know what's in the mind of an individual. And they might see you like, oh, you come from... Well.
This is, this is I think this what is called unconscious bias. Yeah. So even, even though they kinda, you know, did not like, Oh no we're not biased and then the actions kind of tell otherwise.
Looking at the person like, Hmmm, and coming from this country.
Excuse me sir, random check.
To be honest, I've had so many random checks on thr planes. Yeah.
I've had.. I think I've had about 4. Yeah.
Something about your suspicious.
I don't know. Maybe. Maybe. Well, I was just mentioning before the podcast, I stopped drinking caffeine. Maybe because I was drinking too much caffeine, and, and they pulled me aside.
You're shaking uncontrollably because of the caffeine?
Maybe. Maybe. But. Okay. All right. So any other negative..? Oh, okay. Let me quickly mentioned. So in the UK, one of the impetuses for.. Impetus means like driving factors. One of the impetuses for Brexit was the fact that a lot of people migrated from Romania and Bulgaria and they were manual workers. So they work with the hands and.. Minimum wage in Romania and Bulgaria is substantially lower than it is in the UK. And all the British workers, some of the British workers got upset because these Romanians and Bulgarians could do just as good of a job as as the Brits can, but they will charge a far lower wage. And this was bringing down.
This is a very good point, because, well, if we're going to be honest and transparent about it. Even here in Russia, I think it drives down the wages much lower. I mean, I'm not going to specify, you know, certain countries. But anyway, yeah, once migrant workers who are, let's say, you know, come from less fortunate countries so they have lower salary and therefore, yeah, it drives down the wages. And so the local people, they get mad about it because how come the salary is much lower now. Well, it's primarily because of these, you know, migrant workers. Yes. In the same way that, well, it's not just the wages or the salary, but also in terms of culture clash. Um.
You know what, when it comes to salary, I mean, if people are so mad about this, why don't you go and work? It's usually there aren't many like locals who are willing to do this sort of job.
Yeah, but well, that's another thing because like, we don't want to only have immigrants to clean toilets and stuff like that. That's another thing. Yeah, I think British people should be able to clean the toilets. Come on. You don't need to import an immigrant to clean a toilet. But it is. It is true. Unfortunately, in more developed countries, the local population is unfortunately just lazy.
You know, I remember one of the stand up comedians who was like, You know, a lot of people are, you know, complaining like immigrants are going to steal our jobs. Like, honey, if there is an immigrant who without knowing a language as much without connections, your posh education gets a job and you don't. That's going to say, yeah, that says something, something about yourself and not them.
So like, oh, yeah. I mean, a lot of people in the West, to be honest, are lazy and, I mean, it's a huge generalization, but generally speaking, yeah, a lot of people from lesser developed countries are willing to go the extra mile to feed their family. And in the West, well, I mean, basically have everything served to us on a silver plate. And maybe that needs to change somehow. I dunno. Maybe that's why.. I don't know how to make something fair. How to make it fair for.. Two big questions. Yeah, but that's one of the reasons why Brexit happened. Essentially was because of the wages.
I wonder if that's gonna be easier now to kind of get a work permit there in the UK because before that it was impossible to get. Impossible.
I think it will be the same, to be honest with you. So basically now European citizens are almost.. They are, basically on the same level as anyone else from the world. So if you're from India, it doesn't matter now it's not same as an Italian. In some ways it's actually fairer for the rest of the world in some ways. But the downside to this is that Brits can't just work freely in European Union countries. And it's quite annoying if you're a British citizen. But at least from the perspective of equality for other immigrants, at least now coming from.. Oh, yes, from India or Pakistan has the same rights as someone from Italy or from France.
Yeah. It's.. Do you think.. Or another question. Do you think that the world would be better if there were no borders?
Oh, that's so, you know, like a deep philosophical question.
Kind of hard-boiled. Yeah. I don't know. Maybe yes, maybe no.
On the one hand, it may be good in that we're able to visit each other's countries without, you know, restrictions. But then again, if I'm going to be, you know, pragmatic about it, I think we still need some borders, because, let's face it, we have differences in terms of cultural identities. Yeah. So that's why that's one of the reasons why there is a problem with immigration. As I've mentioned earlier, there's a culture clash because, you know, one, the local culture, sometimes they find it difficult to accept the new culture that comes into their country, especially if this person doesn't want to adapt. Yeah. So. Okay. I know this is a very sensitive topic, for instance, like religion. Yeah. Because I've seen this video on YouTube where, uh, well, I'm not going to mention the religion, I guess, but basically this person was walking in the street. Yeah. And then.. It's a local person, so it's, you know, British. And then he went to this area, supposedly for that particular community and he was, uh, or rather she dressed in appropriately in their eyes. Yeah. And so this girl was criticized, like, why are you dressed like that? Because you shouldn't be walking around here because this is our community, and you should be dressed more appropriately.
It is true. Humans, whether we like it or not, we're all animals and we all have tribal instincts and we all, whether we like it or not, it's just an unfortunate reality of our existence. And even if you bring everyone together, at some point, we're going to want to divide ourselves into little fractions.
Иecause even a country itself, it has its like little groups, if you know what I mean, like, you know, and..
Yeah, yeah. Even in the school playground, you have the ... , you have the emos, you have the..
Yeah, the metalheads and the.. Yeah.
Sounds like a school from 2007.
Yeah. Everyone.. Well so I guess from that perspective. But I guess, I mean, my opinion would be that, well, you have to organize public services and it's kind of difficult to do that if we don't have borders.
And there should be a kind of a security check or background check if we don't have any borders, all right, it's great. Something great. But right. You don't know who is coming to your country or you don't know who is going to be a potential danger to you or to your country.
So there should be a kind of background check or a criminal check, whatever it is.
Yeah, yeah, sure. Um, all right. Well, let's let's move on to the juicy, the juicy visa section. I know a lot of our listeners will be interested knowing what's going on. So..
As I've mentioned before the podcast started that's my sore point at the moment. Has been for the last few years.
Maybe our listeners want to go to America, maybe they want to go to England or Canada or somewhere in the English speaking world. And of course, it's quite difficult as a Russian citizen to to to get access to such countries. Katya you have obviously a lot of experience with..
I wouldn't say a lot... But some.
With America, yeah, I do have some experience.
So what was the process of obtaining an American visa? What did you have to do?
So why don't we first? Well, first of all, we need to remember that there are different types of visas. So I can only tell about my type of visa, which is called J-1 visa. 'Cause three times I have three visas to the U.S. All of them were J-1, which means I was an exchange student or a visiting professor. So some sort of, well, exchange or visiting professional. Which means that my visa, first of all, was very limited in time. So I had my visa only for the duration of my contract, which was nine months. So let's say nine months, nine months and like six months or something. So the process, well, my first visa was really easy to get because I did it through Fulbright. The Grant that I got. So basically you just send all the documents. Then one day all 30 of us went to the embassy, got our finger, fingerprints.
Okay, so the embassy in Moscow. So there's only..
Yeah, back in the day, back in the day. It was in Moscow. Then..
Where is it now? Is there a consulate where our listeners can go to?
No. So my second visa. I was lucky to get it in Ekaterinburg. But then all of the embassies, American embassies in Russia closed down. So we are now officially what is called a homeless nation, meaning we don't have a single consulate in the country. So which is a funny term, right? Like Homeless Nation.
Which means that now if you want to apply for a visa, first you need to decide what country you want to apply in. So and if you change your mind, well, that's gonna be difficult then. So you choose a country where you want to apply. Try to look at the forums whether you know they have a high.. Like visa decline rate or visa approval rate. So then you create, you know, like your profile on the website, you pay your fees, which are, you know, rather high. I think, for a tourist visa to the U.S. It's now around $160, around 200.
So have you tried..? Ugur have you tried to get to go to the States?
No, but my father just went there like four times with business visa.
Oh, okay. So what was his..?
Did he tell you what the process was? What did he have to do?
Actually, his company deal all the process.
Oh, I love when this happens.
Yeah. Regarding the visa. So he just gave his passport and just collect back in 20 days time.
Yeah. They gave, like, ten years visa for him, so.
So it's a business visa. So he went like four times in there.
But he has to only work for a specific organization?
Yeah, it was kind of a, like, inspector, inspecting job. The first one. And the second one, this kind of purchase something this service or a kind of. Yeah. Material from there. So he didn't need to be there to work, so he was kind of an inspector. Yeah. So that's how it works.
So dealing with. Yeah. So it's one way for our listeners to get a visa or if you want to go to the States, you'd have to get.. Well, best way to do it is via an employer and I guess you'd have to go outside of the country.
Oh, yeah, totally. Totally.
Or you could just get an invitation from a company.
Actually, you know, I would say that it's easier to get a tourist visa because, you know, employers have to pay for that. Who wants to pay for your visa and everything, all the expesice.
When you apply for a tourist visa do you have to show that you have a certain amount of money, a bank account?
Oh, yes. So you have to show that you have a certain amount in your bank account. But unlike applying for a Schengen visa for Russians, when you apply for an American visa, you do not have to. Actually never do. Never show or never have the tickets and the booking is that would be considered as pressure on the consulate. Immediate denial.
So you have only like, you know, some of your plan in your head, show that you have enough money, show that you have some proof of.. Well, you show your proof of employment.
And that you're going to come back.
Yes. They need, they need to see that you're going to come back. Yeah. Basically. So, yeah, you pay for your fee and then you pray to all the Gods possible to actually get an appointment date. As of now, most of the country, well, there aren't that many countries that would accept Russians at the moment, but I think the nearest dates are about 2023, like February 2023.
Sometimes if you know the country where you want to apply and you're lucky, sometimes they might be like, you know, a cancelation. So they say, Oh, one spot available, like next week or something.
Yeah. But then again, let's say you want to apply for an American visa in Italy. You can totally do though. Do that. But you need an Italian visa to go.
Well, Ken have you had any experience applying for.. Or have you ever tried to go to the States or to England?
Well, obviously, a lot of people from the Philippines go to the States and there's a big Filipino.. Do you know anyone who's migrated to America from..?
Actually the ex-wife of my uncle... Although we're not close. But she was able to make it there because, you know, she got married again to an American citizen. And although it, you know, of course, is it also took some time because, you know, it's not like, you know, in in a snap of a finger she could move there. But, um, I think she's the only relative I have in America. But as far as applying for a visa, the only experience that I have is for work visa. Because I've never really applied for a tourist visa because most of the countries that I have visited so far have been, you know, visa free for Filipino passport holders.
Well, I'm looking right now at a map of visa free countries for Philippino citizens.
Yeah, I was I was just about to ask, what countries can you go visa free?
You know, that's interesting because that's a problem when you are. Well, I'm not even offended. And I, you know, I honestly say it to my friends and even my students that, you know, some... But I might be slapped in the face by, you know, my fellow Filipinos if I say this.
They're kind of faraway right now.
They won't be able to slap me literally. So. Third world countries, developing countries. Call it whatever you like. The problem is there are only limited countries that they can go to. That are visa free.
Yeah. So for instance, the Philippines, there are only 66 countries that we can go to, mostly in Asia, Africa and then Central America.
Well, I can see here that, oh, you taught in Kazakhstan before. I can see here it says visa not required for.. But I guess for work..
It's recently. It's recent. Because before Filipinos couldn't even go to Kazakhstan. Even for tourism purposes, we have to have a visa.
And of course, a work visa is different from just. Yeah. Okay. So if I were to go to Kazakhstan now, of course I can, because it's for tourism purposes. But for work definitely I still have to get a work visa. Yeah, and that's the only experience I have to get the work visa. Nothing about, you know, for tourism
You know, I sometimes like, I'm okay with applying for visas and everything. I just wish it was easier and preferably less expensive.
Yeah, it's.. It is kind of silly how, like, how much paperwork is involved.
I mean, right. And when I applied for my recent visa, which I didn't get to the U.S., I had to pay an additional fee because it's like, ah, exchange professor visa. So in total it was $300. And then I couldn't, I couldn't make an appointment. So it's gone.
And by the way when you had to apply for your visas did you have to get apostilles and paperwork and stuff like that?
I needed that for my visa application to Kazakhstan. Like, I needed my transcript of records, to have that, you know, a stamp.
And you can't.. Let's say if you're in a country already you can't leave the country. Well, you have to leave the country to get an apostille.
Because there is this, um, I think it's called the hire treaty, something like that. This treaty means that if you get an apostille in one country, it will be recognized in all the other countries which are signatories to this treaty. But it also means that if you want to.. Let's say you're in a country and you want to continue living in the country, you want to get permanent residency means you need to leave the country to get your, for instance, birth certificate apostilled. And then you have to come back and it's just a nightmare. Why?
We live in the digital age. Why can't..?
Why can't just countries just communicate with each other?
That's what we call bureaucracy.
Yes. And another word for our listeners is 'red tape'. Red tape means bureaucracy. So there's so much red tape around, around this and it's just a nightmare.
And then, you know, if you are from a non-English speaking country, you have to translate all the documents and then again put a, you know, some sort of apostille or verification that it's a, you know, translation performed by a professional translator. You can't translate it on your own and everything. And it's all so expensive, like, oh, my God.
It's it's a nightmare doing it.
Well, Ugur what about what about Turkey? What countries can you go to without a visa?
I have a huge map over here, actually.
Actually, all.. Nearly all the countries in Asian continent except China. And like Australia, we can't go there without visa. Australia, China. The other countries are all okay. And most of the countries in South America, we can go there without visa. Canada and the U.S. just they want the visa from us. Yeah. None of the European countries we can go without visa. Yeah. Only couple of them, I guess like Albania or Andorra.
Yeah, I can see over here. Yeah, it's Albania and..
Is it easy to get a visa, though?
Is it easy to get a visa? Like, is it fast process? Is it easy?
Yeah, but it depends. It depends on your purpose of visit. If you have a relative in an Schengen area, schengen zone countries, it's kind of like 4 or 5 days process.
They just check. All right, the relatives are available in that country so you can go free to go.
And I guess Germany has a.. Does it have a special or has a special relationship with Turkey?
Germany is the easiest one for European countries. So if you if you want to go there for study or for work and if you have a solid proof that you can support yourself, that's that's easy to go there. Yeah, but as far as I remember, I went to UK for a business trip with a business visa and it took like two months to get the visa.
British visas are so long to get. I got my tourist one It took like three or four weeks.
Yeah. That was like two months before Brexit. Well, before Brexit, yeah.
I have a question to all three of you. What was it like to get a Russian visa? Like you have a Russian work visa.
It's a lot of paper work.
And thankfully, the BigAppleSchool helped arrange most of it for us. Thank you school. It's it's it's a headache for for everyone.
So you also had to get like some documents apostilled and so on?
I didn't luckily.. Not for work visa..
Not for work visa. But you do need it if you want to get a residence permit, here in Russia. But I had to..
And you also need to get a, I mean, a negative test result of HIV.
Exactly. That was the first thing.So, yeah.
That was the first thing..
Oh, you had to do it as well?
Yeah. So it's.. In England it's really expensive doing doing these things. Obviously the NHS provides free health care for emergency situations, whatnot, but if you need to get a HIV test, you have to do that privately. And I was looking everywhere, all across London.
And I found a place, the cheapest place was £80.
Yeah, 80. 80 quid just to get a..
Whereas this weekend in Novosibirsk you can get it for free.
And several times, like not per month. But I think like every month you can get it for free.
Yeah. So I had to do that.
I paid, like, 10 or 11 U.S. dollars or something
Did you have to do it in Kazakhstan?
So you applied for the visa in Kazakhstan, did you?
No, no, no. I applied in Thailand. But before leaving for Thailand, when I was still in Kazakhstan, I had to get my HIV test there, which was actually really cheap. I just can't remember it any more, beccause it's been 4 years..
I think because Kazakhstan they also have like quite affordable prices for those sort of testing like we do here.
Oh, interesting. That's really interesting.
Yeah. You don't need an HIV test if you're coming to Russia on a tourist visa. If you're coming here for longer than guess.. Yeah. Oh. For for work purposes, then you have to do HIV test. Um, yeah, I'm. I guess maybe is the Russian healthcare system overloaded with..?
We have an epidemic. More than 1% of the whole population of Russia is HIV positive. So I think that's why.
Yeah, I guess they just want to control it somehow. So. Yeah. Yeah. So. Okay. So anyway, yeah, we needed to, to get HIV tested. And if you, if you move here, if you want to get a residence permit, it's a whole other ballgame. In the work visa.. Getting the work visa it's somewhat complicated but it's manageable especially if you have an employer helping you out. But if you want to get residence permit that's just a whole other. Yeah. So much paperwork. You have to get criminal records checked..
That's, that's also reasonable.
That's Okay. That's reasonable. You have to get apostille and verify translation. Then you have to do the. Which I kind of agree with. You have to do the exam in Russian language, history.
Well, again, that's the same in any country.
Um, I think you just have to be grateful that it's not Italy because they have thousands and thousands and thousands of years of history, which is kinds taking more, more time to learn than Russian history.
To be honest I'm not actually complaining about the Russian requirements for. Because I think it's absolutely reasonable to to have these requirements. It's just that the process takes forever if you're from a non former Soviet country. Because..
That was what I was about to comment on, because I have a lot of friends who are from Kazakhstan and they got Russian citizenship. And it was not..
It wasn't easy. I was told. I mean, there was one who had to give like really thick, like a mountain of documents, which I found, you know, interesting, because I thought it would be easy coming from a former soviet country.
Well, I mean, the documents yes, but at least you don't have to take an exam, you know, either in language or in history. So but there is some sort of requirement of how long you have to live in the country and so on.
Yeah. Well, Russians can work in former soviet, most former soviet countries, which is except for the Baltic states, which.. Yeah. So if you want to go to Kyrgyzstan you can go there. Or I guess Georgia has a different arrangement. I know a lot of Russians are moving to Georgia that's..
I'm not sure, to be honest...
Well, I heard that you can live.. As a Russian citizen you can live in Georgia for one year.
Same in Turkey. Same with Turkish. You can just go there with your ID card without your passport.
You can say one year up to one year if you want to settle or if you want to work with a company one year free. You don't need to do that.
That's cool. That's cool. So if we talk about the types of visas, so we mentioned the work visa, the, in my case, that was exchange professors or exchange student visa. We have a student visa. In America it's like F-1.
Yes. The H-1, the F-1. What else you have?
So there is K-1 visa to America. It's the fiancee visa. Um. Oh, there is the spouse one is a different one, by the way.
Oh, just for our listeners.
K-1 is just for fiancees. But then you have 90 days to get married officially, since..
It's easier to get married outside of America, from what I've heard. And then if you want to.. If guys if you want to marry an American, get married in, um, maybe..
It's kind of debatable because then you have to apply for a different sort of visa and the spouse visa, you know, they have a different sort of rule. You have to be married for at least a certain amount of time. If I'm not mistaken. And that would be.. The type of visa depends on, you know, your significant other type of visa. 'Cause if, for example, I'm a J-1 visa, my fiancee would need, well, like my spouse would need J-2 visa. If you're an F-1 visa, your spouse would be F-2 visa. So it's a whole different thing.
Yep. So it's all different. But there's one type of visa, one new type of visa that is getting so popular in different countries, which is a digital nomad visa.
Yes, I was just about to mention that. Yes, actually. So but some reason not that many countries offer such a visa.
I think it's a new. It's a relatively new concept. So that's why it takes, it takes time. Yeah. I think that it got popularity, you know, before COVID, but that at that time, you know, it was not that widespread. And then during COVID, not many people had an opportunity to travel. So now more and more countries start to look into that. And I know I read.. I read some news just three days ago that Argentina is about to, you know, make this new sort of visa. It's still you know, it's still..
Yeah, it's still under work, you know, and everything. There are no details as to whether you need to have some minimum, you know, income to apply for that or anything. But they already say that it's going to be for six months with a chance to update it, you know, and prolong it for six more months. So that's kinda, you know, interesting.
I actually like that idea, although when I checked the requirements and then I saw, You have to pay for the taxes. And I thought, I wonder how much, you know, how many percent you have to pay for your taxes because you could go to some really fancy places such as Germany. Yeah, but I don't know how much you have to pay for the tax.
So. 'Cause, well, I know in Europe.. Not that many countries actually offer. I know Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia, I believe Portugal offers one as well. There's a few countries definitely in Southeast Asia. So Thailand, Vietnam.
Argentina is soon to be added to the list.
Yeah. I don't understand why more countries don't just offer it. I mean..
I think.. Yeah, I think one reason is that it's still new. Second, for example, I have a student who went to Spain. Yeah, she was on a tourist visa, but she was still working there. So she said, why would I need to apply for any sort of, like, digital nomads visa if I can just do that, I can still work while being on a tourist visa.
Well, if you get caught, then you get in trouble. No?
I don't know. But I mean, who checks that or something? I mean, so yeah, it's all, you know, bureaucracy. You have to really look into that. Like, what does that suggest? Like having a digital nomad visa.
Yeah. Well, a lot of people do illegally live in other countries, live and work in other countries on tourist visas. But if you want to deal with the authorities, if you need..
Then you need to.. Or if you need to get a bank account which you need to in some countries..
Yeah. It's like when I was on a J-1 visa in America, it was really specifically sad, you know, like, you are not allowed to have any sort of income while in the US apart from your employer. That's it. They found out you have any other income. Oh God you ... So that's why, you know, for example, even for American citizens, they now check your like PayPal, Venmo if you have more than $600 annual income or some sort of income coming through a PayPal or Venmo, you have to file that. You have to file that.
Oh, yeah, America is very strict. But some reasons not strict if you come in through the Mexican border.
Yeah. You see... While we were talking about, you know, all the visa stuff. I was thinking like, why complicate your life just to go to Mexico and go to the border and then enter and say that you're a refugee or some kind of, you know.
Yeah, it's getting stricter over there now.
Yeah. Although, yeah. Right now yes.
So, I mean, yeah, obviously it's not easy if you're in America illegally. Obviously it's not easy because a lot of states. Well, California's pretty easy.
You mean staying illegally?
Well, you know, I have oh, my God. If I had a dollar for every time I was ask a question, why don't you stay there in the U.S.? So I would be really rich right now. But they like, You could have stayed illegally. I'm like, Look, if you stay illegally.. I mean, people can do that and so on. But if you're caught you wold deported..
What is next? You don't know that.
You're not allowed to enter the country for ten years.
Is it something I'm willing to raise? Hell, no.
..You're in a blacklist in a way.
I lived in Las Vegas, as some of our listeners might know, and I met a few illegal immigrants, and my neighbors came from El Salvador and they were all funny people. And I met a lot of people through them. And I met this one guy who became my friend. And he was illegal immigrant in America. And he, um, basically could not receive any funds in a normal way. When he would receive a check, he would have to go to a check cashing facility and..
Pay huge commission, like 20% commission. And basically you have to.. Receive a salary, 80% of his actual salary and..
I guess it's always it always comes down to what you're leaving behind or whether you're ready for this sort of risk and everything. You have nothing to lose and everything. Okay, fine. But last year, for example, it was like two years ago it was brutal in America. The ice was just getting everyone in deported like so, so many people. Like, Oh my God. So I think that doing things legally is just, you know, it makes you calm. Like, you know what you do, you know that you're doing it the right way and everything.
Yeah, I think one way to cut down illegal immigration would just be to simplify the immigration procedure at the first place. And if the immigration procedures are simplified, then there should be no excuse to illegally migrate somewhere. And if you do illegally migrate somewhere, then just apply for refugee status.
Well, just apply for refugee status... That's a huge step.
Some countries.. It's not too difficult.
I mean, it's.. The thing is that it's not difficult doing that. You can easily apply for refugee status. You're not allowed to go back to your home country.
Oh, yeah, of course. Yeah.
I mean, a friend of mine, she ask for asylum. She's a refugee now in America. She's been there for five years. All these five years she's still waiting for the trial and everything. Yeah, but all these five years, she hasn't seen her family. Her mom has applied for American visa 4 times.
And the last time she was directly told, Look, while your daughter isn't that there's no chance we're going to let you in?
And I guess, as an asylum, is she allowed to work? I guess she has to be allowed.
She has a work but the first year you're not allowed to do anything. So you're getting..
You either do that illegally or you have some sort of relatives. So she had an aunt. So she was the lucky one. So but after a year, she got a work permit, you know, driving license, all that. So now she's basically she has almost the same rights as a citizen, only that she can't vote, you know, and do stuff like. Yeah, but, but yeah. But you are saying like, that's it. You're closing the door like you can't get back to your country, you can't see your family unless you meet on another territory in another country. But then until she has the trial, she's not allowed to leave the country.
Fair enough. Yeah. Yeah. Well, also, yeah, I guess it's kind of tricky if if you're seeking asylum and you're from halfway across the world, whereas.. If you're in Mexico seeking asylum in America, that's one thing, because it's a neighboring country. But if you're from Afghanistan, would it be, for instance, worth going all the way to America?
Well, if you're from Afghanistan, it's going to be worth going anywhere. But..
Yeah, that's a pretty scary situation right now.
A lot of people also told me, like, you could have applied for an asylum like in that country or in that country. I'm like, I don't want to do that. I don't want to not have a chance to say goodbye to my parents, you know, like my mom now, like she's almost 60. I do not know how much she has left. I mean, life it's life. Yeah. So and I don't want to have not to have an opportunity to say goodbye. Like that's too much. I'm not ready.
I guess it's not as easy as..
No. It's easy to apply but it's not easy to deal with.
Yeah. After you've received the status.
All right. Well, yeah, deep subjects. Well, guys, if you have any.. Well we're not immigration lawyers, so we can't give you immigration advice. But if you have any questions or suggestions or you just have a question about a language point in this podcast, please let us know in the comments section. Obviously, we love to hear from you. And if you want to find some more podcasts like this one, just check out the BigAppleSchool website, which is www.BigAppleSchool.com. And there you can also find other articles and other interesting stuff and also do subscribe to all social media platforms, including Telegram, where you can receive very frequent updates as to what's going on here at school and receive interesting language articles, etc.. So that's it for today, guys. Thank you very much. And we'll see you next time.