Author Topic: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas  (Read 122775 times)

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mlwalton

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Hola Everyone,

I've been thinking about this quite a bit.  And I realize that it might seem like an insurmountable task to affect foreign policy from the other side of the pond when you're not even a citizen of the country whose policy you want to change but....and it's the nexus of all things for me....you won't know until you try.

So here is what I propose:  I have been looking into who in American gov't. would be the person/entity/department to raise this issue and I could use some help with this as well.

I mentioned somewhere in one of the forums once before how wouldn't it be nice if there were a one year renewable visa for TEFL teachers to go teach English in Spain (or it could even be broader based and be a visa for any EU nation- I'm flexible at this point).  I would like to see what I can do as a conscientious activist minded US citizen to make this happen.  Or even get it considered.

I am not interested in nay-sayers, or dissenting opinions.  I am asking the members of this forum to become activists with me and pursue this idea with me.

So, the first question is where do we start?  I was looking at the State Department.  I was also looking at the US Ambassador to Spain. I do not know the actual logistical and pragmatic functions of an ambassador so I'm not sure if that is an avenue (protocol-wise) worth pursuing.  If anyone can offer research assistance with that issue, that would be a great place to start.  

Next I think the second question would be how to pursue it at a grassroots level, via petition? email and snail mail letter campaign?  What?

Then next we would have to be able to put into precise terms what the visa or parameters thereof rather would entail.

Make no mistake, I am dead serious in pursuing this.  Nothing gets done if you never take any action.  I am prepared and willing to be the \"frontman\" (in quotes because as I'm a woman, I'm not sure if that term is gender specific or general) and I am willing to sign my name use my address whatever, take responsibility, I will do that.  However I need help.  And since this is a site for expatriates, potential expatriates, wanna-be expatriates, etc.... I figured this is the place to start.

Again, I do realize the enormity of this task, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  So I am asking you to become an activist and help me pursue the creation/inception/implementation of a renewable one year visa for TEFL teachers.

Thank you in advance for your input and support.

Salud! :beer:

Michelle
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Megan

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2005, 08:27:40 PM »
Sounds like a great idea, and one that would certainly help a lot of people.  I'm not sure if we can change Spanish policy, but it doesn't hurt to try, so I'm willing to join the campaign.

You ask about who in the American government could help get this started, but I'm not sure we really need to deal with the American government at all.  I think we need to go to the Spanish government.  I'm just not sure how much influence the State Department or any American politician has over Spain's immigration policy.  For example, a few years ago before I came to Spain I talked to a US politician to see if he could help me get a visa (he's a U.S. congressman and also a good friend of my father).  Anyway, he went to talk to the Spanish Ambassador in D.C. on my behalf to see if there was any way to make it easier for me to get a visa, but it didn't help at all.  I know this isn't the same as what you're saying, but I'm just using it as an example to show that the U.S. government might not be able to help too much.

If you want to start a petition I think we need to send it to Zapatero since it's the Spanish government that decides who gets visas and who doesn't.  And since Zapatero is known for his \"talante\" and his willingness to speak (\"dialogar\") with everyone he just might listen to us.  I imagine the problem will be convincing them that there is a real need for this visa.  They can always say that there are more than enough EU English teachers, so why should they bother having a special TEFL visa.  If we can convince them that non-EU teachers are needed we could have a chance at this.  I believe they give special visas when needed to certain people (like in the agricultural field or other areas where there aren't enough people willing to do the jobs), so theoretically they could create a visa for English teachers if it were needed.

The other obstacle we may encounter could come from the EU.  I've heard that the EU wants to create a common immigration policy, and I know that other EU countries aren't happy with Spain's decision to offer amnesty to immigrants, so it seems that immigration will be getting even tighter in the EU.  I imagine the EU wouldn't have a big problem with offering TEFL visas to Americans if the United States also offered special visas for EU citizens to go teach Spanish, French, German, etc. in the U.S.  After all, it would only be fair that if Americans get to come to the EU to teach English than Europeans should be able to go to the U.S. to teach also.  

I think you're starting a really complicated project, but I guess you never know what can happen if you don't try.  These are just some of my initial thoughts after reading your idea.  Hopefully more people will be willing to help and we can really start trying to figure this out.

mlwalton

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2005, 09:09:46 PM »
Thank you Megan.  You offered a new perspective that I hadn't considered.  

Maybe there could be a teacher exchange like the student exchange program.  So then I will take a look to see what entity/institution/government body/whoever regulates foreign exchange students.  And anyone else who's interested and might be able to shed some light on which direction to pursue please do so.

I was thinking too that the Ambassador may be able to offer insight on how to approach the Spanish government....you know what might be the best angle....i.e. trying to forge better U.S. and Spain(and/or Europe) relations etc....or good will with an exchange program.

I like the idea of a teacher exchange program, although, the only immediate draw-back might be that they would want people with X amount of college education or degrees under their belt, something more than just a TEFL certification....still that's no reason not to pursue it....it's just more motivation for me to finish my Bachelor's ;)

Ok this is a good start.  Yes hopefully more people will be willing to jump in the fray and we can hash this thing out.

Salud! :beer:

Michelle :D  
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mlwalton

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2005, 12:04:42 AM »
Here's an update:

I contacted Senator Richard G. Lugar's office.  He is the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.  I was directed by Caitlin in his office to leave a voice-mail message for a Mr. Paul Foldi, which I've done.

As it turns out, Senator Bill Nelson (FL) is also on the committee and as I am a constituent of Sentor Nelson's I sent him an e-mail explaining my query....so we shall see what happens next.

Salud! :beer:

Michelle Save the :siesta:
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methdxman

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2005, 02:12:22 PM »
I think this is a great idea and I believe that contacting a Senator or Ambassador to Spain is the best way to get something done.

Yeah, it seriously wouldn't hurt the Spanish Economy at all to have American teachers in there.  Korea has a special visa for English teachers, although I suspect that more people would want to relocate to Spain than to Korea(and Korea pays a lot more), but it still shouldn't be a problem.
 

RebeccaG

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2005, 04:33:33 PM »
Michelle --

You go girl! You bring up an interesting issue...one that I had bantered about with Tony when we took over the administration of the café.

I will ask around some of my contacts to see what they say, although I will admit that my more influential contacts are stronger on the other side of the puddle (in the States) than in Spain. There might be someone here I can talk to as well... will get to it over the next couple of days and will post back as well.

Cheers!
R

P.S. I don't think tackling foreign policy and trying to effect change is an insurmountable task... it's simply a question of getting audience with the right person. Does anyone believe in the theory of 6 degrees of separation? I do!  ;)  
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mlwalton

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2005, 06:05:42 PM »
Thanks for the support guys! :D

The following is a list of Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee.  I have included links for you to click on their respective names to their individual web sites.  Each site has a link for contacting the Senator.  

Senator Richard G. Lugar, Chairman
Senator Chuck Hagel, Nebraska
Senator Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island
Senator George Allen, Virginia
Senator Norm Coleman, Minnesota
Senator George V. Voinovich, Ohio
Senator Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
Senator John E. Sununu, New Hampshire
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Senator Mel Martinez, Florida
Senator Joseph R. Biden, Ranking Minority Member, Delaware
Senator Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland
Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut
Senator John F. Kerry, Massachusetts
Senator Russell D. Feingold, Wiscosnin
Senator Barbara Boxer, California
Senator Bill Nelson, Florida
Senator Barack Obama, Illinois

Below is the text of the email that I sent yesterday to Senator Bill Nelson.  You may copy and paste and edit for the Senator of your choice to send him or her an email.

It's time to take some action.

Quote
Dear Senator Nelson,

I am writing to you because I saw that you are on the Foreign Relations Committee. As such I thought you might be able to provide me with some guidance with a particular matter.  Please allow me to explain.

I am a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified teacher and also a moderator of a web site for expatriates in Spain.  www.expatriatecafe.com  Americans, myself included, that want to go to Spain to live/work have a huge disadvantage compared to EU Nationals.  It is practically impossible to obtain a visa to live/work in Spain to teach English.

There are many young adults that pursue TEFL certificates in the hopes of seeing the world and supporting themselves by teaching English.  Great idea, travel, see the world, experience different cultures, broaden your horizons, sounds great doesn't it? 

The problem is, with the ever-increasing threat of terrorism, immigration to a foreign country has become more and more difficult. 

There are a lot of Americans living abroad that are living/working (teaching English) illegally and live with the constant fear of deportation.

My idea: why not have an exchange program for teachers like there is for students, or even a renewable one year visa for teaching English abroad.

I understand that the latter would have to be offered from the Spanish government.  I don't even know where to begin on that one.

However, the exchange program I thought I would start with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

I contacted Senator Lugar's office, and spoke with Caitlin, who thought I ought to leave a message for a Mr. Paul Foldi, which I've done.

Then I decided to take a look at the web site again to see who else is on the committee and lo and behold there you were on the list.  (I voted for you too. =) )

Anyway,  I'm not sure even how to go about pursuing the idea of a teacher exchange program or a renewable one-year visa for TEFL teachers, but I am willing to work very earnestly at a grassroots level whether through signed petitions or e-mail, and written letter campaigning.  I am also willing to do the research to structure an actual proposal, providing numbers for economic impact, etc...

I'm just not sure which is the path to pursue.  Could you please offer some advice on how to proceed?  It would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Michelle L. Walton

So far I have not received a response either from Mr. Foldi (voice mail message) or from Senator Nelson.  However, it has only been one day, not even a full 24 hours.  So we shall see.  

I think that if we contact every member of the Foreign Relations Committee individually, we might just get someone's attention to take it to the next step (whatever that would be - at this point I've no clue about what specific action to take).

If you do choose to get involved and get active, then please post here, what you have done and whom you have contacted.  

I feel good about this guys.  I'm thinking that once we have a plan of action organized it can be taken to TEFL training schools and colleges and universities to get other people involved and get their support.

Salud! :beer:

Michelle Save the :siesta:

p.s. first the visa then the siesta....the possibilities are endless ;)
p.p.s. obviously take out the part where I mention being from Florida, TEFL certified (unless of course you are) and a moderator too  :P
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silo

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2005, 09:24:43 AM »
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(I voted for you too. =) )

Nice touch  :lol:


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So far I have not received a response either from Mr. Foldi (voice mail message) or from Senator Nelson.

This shouldn´t surprise anyone. He probably has a million things to do....like collecting money from lobbyists in exchange for what they want, meeting with celebrities for no reason, having dinner with other political figures to compare who gets away with more abuses, etc. etc. :angry:

The e mail you sent was nice, but I think you should have put a dollar figure in there and negotiate from there. :o  
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mlwalton

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2005, 03:41:58 PM »
Quote
The e mail you sent was nice, but I think you should have put a dollar figure in there and negotiate from there.


A dollar amount representing what?  Tax revenue for the Spanish government? Possible revenue to be gained for the travel industry?

I could use some help with research for just that kind of thing.  Shiloh, you want to volunteer?
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silo

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2005, 04:01:40 PM »
Quote
A dollar amount representing what? Tax revenue for the Spanish government? Possible revenue to be gained for the travel industry?

A dollar amount representing the bribe you are offering to get what you want....like any other lobbyist.


Quote
I could use some help with research for just that kind of thing. Shiloh, you want to volunteer?

No thanks, I already have papers.  :P
 
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mlwalton

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2005, 04:16:48 PM »
Here's an update:

I phoned Senator Bill Nelson's office to find out the turn-around time for correspondence.  I was told it takes about four weeks.  I told the office that they may want to speak to their webmaster to create an auto response letter so that you know that your email was received etc....

Also, as I had not heard back from Mr. Paul Foldi, I phoned Senator Lugar's office again and this time was instructed to leave a message for Mark Helmke who handles public diplomacy and exchange programs and things \"of that nature\" quoting Kristan (whom I spoke with this morning).

Listen, what we are trying to accomplish here is no easy task.  We are talking about possible legislation, which could take a year or more to get through, so I don't want people to get discouraged or give up because of that. We are in the beginning stages here and we're not even sure where to start or what path to pursue.  At this point, the collective \"we\" is relatively small.  So if you think this is a good idea, let's get the word out, and get more people involved.  There are only so many calls to Washington DC I can make at work before someone's going to notice....if you catch my drift ;)

Like I said in the opening post, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  Nay-sayers and dissenting opinions have no place in this thread.  I am emboldened by your posts here and I hope you feel the same.

Anyone else have any other ideas?  Megan you mentioned a friend of your father's is a Congressman, any chance of seeking advice from him?  Anyone else have friends in high places? ;)

And yes most definitely Rebecca I believe in six degrees of separation :)   You never know who could be the one to help you out.  I'm feeling amped now, now that my morning coffee has kicked in :cafe:  :D

Salud! :beer:

Michelle Save the   :siesta:
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mlwalton

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2005, 04:52:03 PM »
So then Shiloh you were just being a smart-ass then, eh? [_[

Quote
A dollar amount representing the bribe you are offering to get what you want....like any other lobbyist.


You know, you might be the perfect person to do some research on your end....since you live there, you've got your papers, you speak Catalan and Spanish, maybe you'll reconsider?
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mlwalton

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2005, 07:54:03 PM »
Hola Everyone,

So ok, I went back to the State Department's web site and I found this **CLICK HERE**

I haven't had the chance to read through all of it yet, but it looks as though the ground work has already been laid down and that the current program would just have to be expanded to included people who are going to get TEFL certified as well as those who already are [certified] and just want to teach...rather than the administrative/business aspect.

Thoughts?

Salud! :beer:

Michelle Save the :siesta:  
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silo

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Re: Petition for New Visa: Movement to get English Teachers Visas
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2005, 12:16:04 AM »
Quote
So then Shiloh you were just being a smart-ass then, eh?

You should know better than to expect anything more, Michelle.

 
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