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I signed a contract in January for a company in Europe (I'm from Latin America), and since then, they have been handling my relocation and visa process through a relocation agency.

The problem is that both the agency and the company are very unresponsive. The communication with the agency is terrible. I'd ask where the process stands at the Federal Agency of Employment by myself because the relocation agency didn't tell me that the process has finished positively. And now, I've been trying to gather information to fill out a form about health insurance, and I need help from the HR team, but I've been waiting for an answer for almost two weeks.

The other part is that I'm still working full time, and I don't know if I should quit yet due to the uncertainty of the visa process (I have pre-approval work, and now I should apply for the work visa).

The positive part is the communication with the manager has been really good, and he keeps telling me that they're willing to wait for me. But I haven't reached him with those questions to not bother him with something unrelated to his expertise (?)

How can I approach this?

Is it a good idea to ask my manager if I should quit my job, or is that my responsibility?

Should I tell him that I need help and that the HR team is not replying to my emails or keep waiting?

I really appreciate any help you can provide.

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    Just so that suspicious minds like mine will settle: you weren't asked to pay anything for the visa/relocation process, right?
    – thkala
    May 27 at 11:35
  • @thkala thankfully no, but there is a part in the contract that said if a leave the company before one year, I have to pay the fees for the relocation.
    – strider
    May 27 at 12:35
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    @StriderKeni Playing devil's advocate here (and getting really paranoid). If the job/company doesn't actually exist (and is a scam), then there exists the possibility that you backing out due their unresponsiveness could trigger the payback clause of the "contract". Which would lead them to asking you for payback on "legal expenses" they have spent on your application. Seeing you have a signed "contract" you would feel obligated to do so. If my paranoid mind can imagine this potential extension to the advanced fee scam so can the scammers!
    – Peter M
    May 27 at 13:09
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    I'm not sure if I got this right. Your manager knows there are hold-ups in the process (because he keeps telling you they'll wait), but doesn't know they are due to his own company's HR not replying ("Should I tell him...")? What did you tell him so far?
    – Sabine
    May 27 at 14:09

6 Answers 6

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The other part is that I'm still working full time, and I don't know if I should quit yet

You don't have a new job yet, so do not resign.

You don't need to ask your new manager if you should quit. You SHOULD ask him if he can bring any pressure to bear on the HR department; not having you onboard means (or should mean) that his team is having to do extra work to cover your new position.

Chase up the HR team by email, so you have a written record of communication. If your manager can talk to them also, it might move them along a little.

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    +1. If I were a manager in this situation I'd expect to be aware of any issues with any new starters. Let them know NOW. In similar situation I'd be annoyed by HR, and the relocation company. But I'd be also equally annoyed by the lack of communication from the new starter. You manager may not be able to resolve your question but they would be able to escalate to HR on your behalf.
    – rvs
    May 26 at 18:27
  • Thanks for the advice! I'm going to contact him now.
    – strider
    May 26 at 18:57
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....but I've been waiting for an answer for almost two weeks.

Two weeks is too long, you should involve your manager and request them to help you getting the answers (either by themselves or by looping any alternate / correct point of contact).

Is it a good idea to ask my manager if I should quit my job, or is that my responsibility?

I don't think asking your manager (or expecting an answer) is going to do any help, it's your call. You need to ensure you have absolutely everything you need to start the new job (including the signed contract, relocation requirements etc.), and then only hand out your notice to current employer.

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First of all, congrats with your visa!

Do you really want to work for a company that neglects their employees like this though? 2 weeks to get a response from HR department sounds really weird, they usually reply within the same day you message them.

I know it's hard to secure a job 10000 km away from your home, but that's a massive commitment and it's better to be sure.

I've been in a situation like this, when company outsources visa related processes to a 3rd party and for me it almost turned into a disaster.

"Federal Agency of Employment" - assuming you've got a German visa and you still want to move over here but are not quite sure about what's up with your employer : I'd continue my interviews with other companies, if you don't like this current employer when you land you'd still have time to transfer your visa to the new one. Probation period works for both parties. If you go this way just have some offers in the pipeline. then you can simply reply "You know, I'm in Germany already, just take over my visa". Not a legal advice, please consult some more trusty source beforehand.

I hope it will work out for you.

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Don't quit your job yet. but also don't jump to conclusions.

After handing things off to the agency, the company's job is to wait. After sending off the application to the embassy, the agency's job is to wait. The company took a few days to get everything in order before sending it to the agency. The agency put you in the queue of all the other applicants. This will be another few days. Then the embassy will take its time.

Visas etc. are usually a slow process. Go to the website of the embassy and check average response times for your visa class. The employer is not being unresponsive, you are being (understandably if I may say so) jumpy. The company has no new information for you at this point. So chill for now. It is under progress.

If the company doesn't handle overseas candidates regularly, they might be as clueless about it as you are. So it is good of you to take initiative. Maybe talk to an immigration agency in your home country and figure out the sequence of the steps and the timelines and tolerance margins.

Your health insurance is not something to worry about, you'll get it in an afternoon. You just need to pay some money to a private company and show some documents. It should be online. If you have further specific questions you can ask me here in the comments.

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    "don't jump to conclusions" – Seconded. I happen to work for a middle-sized-ish German company which is in the process of onboarding a new hire from Latin America. I have nothing to do with that process, but I happen to know that our HR department is rather small, does not perform such relocations regularly, and recently lost one of its most experienced employees and shortly thereafter its department head. If we were talking about our company, I would be surprised if it didn't take long with extended periods of non-communication. But you would be wrong in drawing any conclusions about the … May 28 at 1:11
  • … future work experience from that. May 28 at 1:11
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You should contact your future employer and ask about the expected timeline of the employment process.

It's possible that something went wrong and they're trying to fix it, but they are also waiting for others so they have no input for you. Or, quite likely, the employment process is expected to take so long.

Many Schengen countries, like Germany, have very strict employee protection laws, so that hiring someone outside Schengen might require getting allowance from the government agency, which can take insanely long to process. That might be the reason why your case is handled by the external company to handle the legal burden.

But if you don't have the timeline, you can't say if things are going wrong, or simply as expected, it's quite surprising that no details were discussed.

Registering for health insurance etc. are the things that you usually make when you arrive to the target country. In case of Germany, most (if not all) official things were first possible once you have residency registration, so it doesn't make sense to try to accomplish them in advance.

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Managers deal 10% of their time with something related to their expertise, 90% of the time with crap like sales, marketing, HR, "how to fight back HR policies that are dangerous to the project collaborators", and at last but not at least "how to get promoted".

So you will not bother them if you have questions about HR processes: it will be regular stuff for them.

Final comment: HR goal is not to help or assist the employees. HR exists to protect the employer. Unfortunately.

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