I have tried many different careers in my 20s, and visa consulting is one of them. I never really planned to be in such a career, but somehow I was really good at it.
A lot of career experts teach you how to plan your career and prepare your CV, and yet they also tell you that a lot of job positions (by “a lot” they mean about 80% in Denmark) are unannounced. So, you go and figure it out.
Thanks to my work experience in two related jobs, I grabbed the chance of the “unseen job opportunity” by reaching out to my target network within immigration service. I became a Deputy Operations Manager for a startup company that provides visa service for companies and individuals in Denmark.
As a small team, we had a lot of fun while filing those endless papers for our clients. In fact, one very happy fact about being a visa consultant is that you see the genuine smiles on people’s faces as though you have saved their lives.
One day, a couple showed up at our office without any appointment record. The man was holding a plastic folder in his right hand. There were two passports and some papers inside the folder. They both looked very polite, and they asked if we could help them even though they did not make an appointment in advance.
We never rejected a client no matter how busy a day turned out to be. My professional instinct led me to check their passports as the first thing. As a person who worked for visa applications, I needed to make sure that above all other things, a passport should be in good shape. It should not expire very soon, especially not within three months. There should be at least one empty page for receiving a visa stamp.
The second thing was to clearly understand the destination, purpose, and duration of our clients’ trips. The following procedure was just about if they had the right documents prepared, and what they should do if they didn’t.
The problems of our 90-year-old couple clients were that they did not understand how the bureaucracy worked, and they could not use a computer. So I spent two hours explaining everything to them, filling the online application, printing the filled forms and copies of all necessary documents including the passport information page, and telling them that we will take care of the rest.
In the end, before they said goodbye, I saw a smile on the wife’s face that was so relieved and so happy. That moment has really gotten into my heart, as if within a mundane work life I have brought real joy to others, and I have received a rewarding joy in return.
The biggest motivation for working in such a career is the satisfaction of solving the problems for others. The problems mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the time, there are problems that are more urgent than that, for example some clients contacted us because they wanted to fly the next day.
Collecting the right document and communicating the right message is key in solving such emergent issues. To tackle such challenges, being organised and efficient is the least qualification a visa consultant should have.
Inside my colleagues’ and my heads, there was a timetable, a map of embassies, and then there was this ever-changing document list. It was ever-changing because the embassies’ rules are changing all the time, and we became very resilient and patient when it came to preparing the documents.
In fact, a document list was a huge part of filing for a visa application. A well functional scanner and printer was a must in creating such a business. In reality we needed to scan and print so much that I sometimes doubt if we are really living in the 21st century.
I have now changed my career, but when I think of those hectic days, I know that a mobile app such as LetsScan could be really useful for solving all the unnecessary problems when someone has to go through all the documenting tasks.
It is especially true when you don’t have your passport at hand, or you don’t have a scanner near you, and you need to send a scanned copy of something to somebody that is demanding it, and you can not do anything but do whatever you are asked to do.