A lot of people don't really know or believe what some immigrants go through. Many cases are tough and many foreigners struggle to overcome their situations. This is my case.
My name is Laura Castillo, I'm a 22-year-old Venezuelan immigrant in Guatemala. My mom, brother and I came to live here when I was 13 years old, "fleeing" just in time from our country before everything happened. My sister and her daughter also came to live with us a couple of years ago due to fear of persecution. Since then, my mom, a 57 years old woman, has been working to death: sometimes 12 hours a day, weekends and holidays to support her family all by herself. She now had 3 grown people to take care of and a kid to send to school because my sister couldn't work. I could only watch with apprehension. However, once my mom collapsed (several times) due to fatigue, I couldn't stay put.
When I turned 20, I decided I had to work. With support from my mom, I dropped out of college and began the process of becoming a permanent resident in Guatemala (we couldn't do it before because of lack of time and money) so I could legally work.
During this time, things got worse.
We spent A LOT of money we didn't have to pay for the permanent residency, getting my stamp in my passport, become a domiciled foreigner and getting the personal document of ID (DPI in Guatemala): all for nothing. I was offered SEVERAL positions due to my English level and knowledge in teaching (I studied English Teaching), but they all turned me down at the last minute because "I don't have a work permit".
I was like: "What? What is that? Wasn't I supposed to be able to work when I got my DPI?"
Well, no.Turns out that foreigners can only get a work permit in Guatemala if:
- A business' legal advisor can show proof that they are offering the position. This means: that the business is taking legal responsibility of the foreigner (NOBODY WANTED TO DO THIS). This is very expensive and has to be renewed annually for the same price.
- The foreigner is married with a Guatemalan national.
- The foreigner has a Guatemalan born child.
Now, I'm 22 years old: I don't want to get married and I won't have a child just for a work permit. My mom was able to work because she came here with a job offer, but I was different: I don't have built experience so that someone wants to "put their hands in the fire" for me.
So here I was, living by myself because "I can't keep leeching off my mom, I'm gonna work and be independent so she doesn't have to overwork herself for me and I'm also gonna help her with bills and medical aid"... But my plan didn't go as smooth as I thought because I couldn't get a job.
So, I have been living by myself for 2 years, working just like my mom for only base salary and presenting invoices because I can't do otherwise... This is very frustrating because it's barely enough to pay rent and bills, I don't get benefits and A LOT of times I don't even get my pay: my employers keep saying "in a month or so".
I asked a lot of people, lawyers, other foreigners and nobody could help me with information or getting that work permit... Until finally, a friend said he can help me with legally offering me a job, but I have to pay for the work permit.
Right now, I'm moving back with my mom so that the little income I have through my personal project doesn't get wasted in paying rent... But it's still not enough.
This is why decided to start this campaign.
TL;DR: I'm in need of a lot of money so I can get a legal permit to work in Guatemala. I was told by a lawyer that the process might take time (around 6 months), I might have to pay several fees, lawyers, and other things and that IT STILL MIGHT NOT WORK.... But I still want to try and get one for myself and my siblings
I don't want to use underhanded means. I want to be fair and square with the system, but I also want to be able to have a proper job. I'm going to work hard to get it by legal means, get a good job and finally help my family, pets and myself.
My aunt in USA said she can help me receive the funds and send them to Guatemala, though some money is going to be lost in the process. But any kind of help or contribution is IMMENSELY appreciated!
Please! Help me get a work permit!