mardi, janvier 18, 2011

The horror of French public services

I had been restraining myself from writing the horror stories of the French public services regarding the foreigners department. Whenever I need to get my papers updated, I would normally spent a whole day(or sometimes more) at the office and I would have to take days off as the public services are not open on saturdays.

For my mom's stay, Seb had to queue up as early as 5am in the cold just to get an appointment, sumbit papers and documents, resumbit some documents (note: they always asked for more papers than what was written on the internet or communicated over the phone), collect my mom's 'long-stay' card etc. We would join Seb when the office opened at 9am. It could take hours before one reached the reception desk since each person had to provide the motive and necessary documents before given a ticket. There was only a staff. Each interview could take 5 mins. There would be around 50 people before us. Yeah, there were people who camped overnight. They took the last Metro as they had no cars. Remember, this was the foreign department we were talking about and usually, the foreigners were low-skill workers. Low-skill = low pay = no car. Low-skill work also meant that if they did not work, they were not paid.

Once, we arrived at the reception desk and it was already noon. As we had an appointment, we were given a ticket. The people behind us were told to come back the next day as all tickets were given out. They could only process a certain number of requests a day. The lady behind us told me that it was the second day she was there and this time, she queued since 6am. She already had a loss of income of 2 days and a whole day of queueing wasted. Poor lady. There were many other people like her.

As mentioned earlier, I preferred not to write about such things as I had become a fatalist. In the beginning, I compared the public services here with that of Singapore which is easy and fast. Now, I decided to accept things as they are in France. France has its positive points and overall, I am contented with this country.

So, what makes me begin this post. I rattle on more than I like to. It's because of the French passports. Seb and baby A2 made their passports 3 weeks ago. We went on a weekday morning and waited for like 2 hours before everything was done. As we waited, we heard people being told to come back the next day as there was insufficient staff to process the passport applications. It was only noon then. Seb went to collect the passports last week and there were mistakes in both passports! Seb's family name was spelt wrongly. The address in both passports had mistakes and they were not even identical. They had to be redo and the system was down that day. So Seb had to go back another day to resumbit the applications. Another few hours to be wasted. Worse of all, this is costing the government money and these are the tax payers' money. Gosh. This is what got me started with this post. I better stop here now. Nothing, nothing goes well with the public service here. If we managed to get something done fast and correct with the public services, it was really a miracle.

2 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

we do our passports online, attach a photo etc. appointment for collection is a breeze. can't get more efficient than this.

these days the bus stop even has an electronic board to tell you the ETA of the buses, but the traffic condition is at its worst ever. just last friday, i was in a traffic jam for 2.5 hours for a normally 45 mins journey. there was an accident and accidents are increasingly frequent these days. (KC)

sohcool a dit…

Hi KC,
Yeah, I did my passport online recently and went to Sg embassy to collect it. Indeed, it was easy.

As for the transport service in Sg, I did hear that it is getting really bad. Well, in Paris, we are not much better with the trains.