Just so you know, I have been working most of the 7 years I have lived here, but apparently not legally. It was easier for me to obtain my permanent residency through a dependent status, as there is no minimum income requirement. But this year, feeling frisky, I decided to tackle the work permit business.
When I went to pick up my residency card (See Getting Legal-Trip 5) I asked at the desk what I needed to do to work legally now. The clerk printed out a little paper and said that I would need to fill out electronically the form “notificacion de cambio de lugar de trabajo” (job location change notification), then write a letter indicating the change bajo de protesto de decir la verdad (swearing to tell the truth) and return to the office with my residency card and a copy. I had to ask a second time if that was all, just to be sure. That seemed so easy–it had to be a mistake. The clerk emphasized that it needed to be done within 90 days of the change. Okie Dokie.
However, when I applied for a job teaching English at a private elementary school, that was a horse of a different color. I sent my diploma, notarized, apostillado (apostille), and traducido por un perito traductor (translated into Spanish by an authorized agent) that indicated that I had a Bachelor’s in Science in Education with specialties in English and English as a Second Language. Who better qualified to teach the children of México but me, I thought.
But my own high opinion and a Bachelor’s degree weren’t enough for SEP (Secretaria de Educacion Primaria). I received, with my rejection letter, a list of 10 requirements and a request for payment in the amount of $758 pesos, plus 11 pesos for each document sent, to re-evaluate my documents.
I was requested to send:
1–Formato de Solicitud original (a form requesting my reevaluation)
2–Acta de nacimiento original y copia, traducida y apostillada (birth certificate with an apostille and translated into Spanish and copy)
3–Pago de derechos clave 85-20 (payment to the state of Guanajuato)
4–Pago Correspondente (the $758 and 11 pesos per document)
5–copia de CURP (copy of my identification number issued by federal government)
6–Documento original y copia oficial que acredite las calificaciones finales de los grados a revalidar apostillado y traducido (the original and a legal copy of my high school transcripts translated and with an apostille)
7–Titulo o diploma original y copia del grado a revalidar apostillado y traducido (High School diploma and copy, translated and with an apostille)
8–Documento original y copia migratorio que acredite al legal estancia en el país (my permanent residency card and copy)
9–Certificado original y copia o Diploma de Bachillerato cuando los estudios a revalidar sean de nivel Licenciatura apostillado y traducido por un perito autorizado (my diploma from the University with an apostille and translated into Spanish by an authorized person)
10–Plan y programa que ampare los estudios realizados en el extranjero original y 2 copias traducidas (my college transcripts and 2 copies translated into Spanish)
What the….? Not even immigration asked for so much documentation. I was upset and asked around to see if it was just because I was not born a Mexican–and yep, it was.
Obtaining even this information was as difficult as prying state secrets from a loyalist. I honestly was perplexed at what SEP was requesting, as in my opinion, a diploma from a University was sufficient proof of my qualifications. So I asked around, specifically currently employed English teachers or people working at Universities that might know a foreign-born English teacher. Some didn’t respond. Some said they would get back to me. Some said that I needed to fix my own problems myself. These same people who didn’t hesitate to call me up when they needed to cram for the IELTS, Trinity or TOEFL exams, or had a question about U.S. Social Security benefits, or who sent me desperate people with difficult U.S. questions who then never paid me for my time or effort. These people I thought were my friends! Silly me.
So then I asked the Spanish teachers for information and discovered the astonishing fact that most teachers here in México have never attended a University to become teachers. The law requiring a University education is quite recent, hence teachers who did not attend a University are allowed to continue teaching because of their years in the field are seen to be the equivalent of actual studies. Newer teachers who have not completed their studies, often use a diploma prestado (borrowed) from someone who has completed his or her studies.
But not me, noooo. I would have to complete these requirements and take them to Guanajuato personally in order to be given a teaching position.