My application visa into the Schengen territory has just got denied for the third time in a row, before I mention the reasons and their stupid claims on why it got denied, let me walk you through all the stories behind every each visa application that got denied.
I, like any other Moroccan citizen, am thinking of relocating to a better sustainable and well developed country, but while I'm still in Morocco, I've been trying my best solving my issues in my own ways, like teaching myself how to code to successfully land a job as a front-end engineer and later on as a full-stack engineer instead of making excuses and blaming the educational system.
Or instead of making excuses of the low salary software engineers get in Morocco and blaming the employers, I was working remotely for US based startups to cover my expenses as we're not really getting paid well here in Morocco.
And due to the low quality of our educational system, I spent a year and half teaching myself many skill sets like Graphic, UI/UX Design, web and mobile development and much more... while attending boring classes to get an associate degree as it is still required especially when moving abroad.
I used to sleep 4 hours a day in order to:
- Attend useless classes from 8am-12pm and from 2pm-6pm everyday except the weekends.
- Learn and practice by building my side projects or working as a free lancer, from 7pm until 4am.
- I was always stuck to my laptop all the time including summer vacations.
I used to sleep during classes when I get really tired, or skip them to over study what I was interested into at some cafe or library, I was using the school's computer which wasn't that great but it did the job, until I pitched to my dad the idea of investing in me by purchasing me a solid laptop and in return, I promised myself to give it back once I graduate. In order to achieve that, I used to participate in Hackathons - competitions that award the 3 most good ideas with a working prototype -, I've won 2 or 3 out of 4 Hackathons I took part in.
At the end of the year (2017), I declined a job offer, won first prize at a hackathon and one of my teachers informed me of my graduation, later that day, I got an email from Obytes CEO, offering me a job as a remote front-end developer which I ended up accepting and I wrote about it here, this all happened during August, 2017.
Yup, I did give back the laptop.
I was then hired as an independent contractor which means that I could attend university and study for my bachelor degree in software engineering, after attending few classes, I decided to drop out for many reasons but here are few of them:
- The program was useless for both engineering and academic research
During 2018, I got a job offer from a German company based in Frankfurt that wanted to hire me as a front-end developer, This was my first time applying for a Schengen visa, - I did travel abroad before, I traveled to Istanbul to attend a conference - I had to sign the contract, legalize it and send it back to Germany which was really absurd, I traveled from my small city to Rabat in order to submit all the necessary documents, I headed back home and I got a letter after a whole "month" that states that my visa application has been denied by the employment department in Germany, that my degree wasn't recognized.
Which is now recognized...
Few months later, I got a new job as a full stack engineer at Maltem Africa, it was a long term contract with health insurance and retirement plan covered by the company, the salary was higher but it required me to work on site unlike my secondary job which was fully remote, it wasn't easy but I could manage to work for both until a tech lead joined the new company and he was that type of people who claims to know a specific tool but has no idea really about it, he wasn't good with any of us and had to rant me out as he couldn't figure out how to use the tech stack we used to develop one of the company's products. He even insulted me via emails which I still have until this day. So I decided to abandon my job as the CEO and few other employees were able to read the emails but the CEO didn't take any actions.
I shouldn't have quit, but I rushed out and decided to quit, the CEO, CTO and few other members tried to reach out to make me re-consider but I refused to, few days later, the guy was fired.
During this period, there was a Hackathon in Finland, organized by Junction, I signed up and got accepted, I somehow knew that the visa will be denied once again but I applied anyway and got the same negative response, ended up wasting my time and money once again.
Anyhow, I decided to switch my contract with Obytes from an independent contractor to CDI which basically means that the company will offer a health insurance and retirement plan and that I'll be considered officially as a worker, but the salary was really low and one of the board members who was Moroccan was an ageist and was discriminating me all the time for being so young and having such skill sets, when ever I used to ask for a pay raise, he'll make fun of me or offer only a 10% raise. I was training a new employee who was getting paid more than me due to his age according to that board member.
During 2019, I decided to try out the nomadic lifestyle and traveled to Southeast Asia for 2.5 months while working, I wrote about my experience on my recent articles, it was an amazing experience which I highly recommend to try out before going all in into this lifestyle, as it turns out to be really exhausting and unhealthy for me.
Once I got back from my trip, few months have passed and I decided to resign my current position and join Maltem Africa once again as I had a discussion with the CEO, we managed to forget the past to start a fresh new beginning and I apologized for my rush of quitting, he also apologized and explained to me why he couldn't fire the guy right at that moment.
I could have resigned right from the end of September but there was another Junction Hackathon in Budapest, I applied and got approved, I was so happy to represent my home country Morocco, I flew from my small city to Casablanca to move my stuff as I'll be living there from now on, prepared all the necessary documents and applied for the Schengen visa for the third time.
They required that I book my rebound flight and hotel stay, so I did, after few weeeks, I tried to reach out by email as my flight was scheduled at 24th October at 7am, they weren't really good responding in English on emails and they requested me to come pick up my passport during holidays, I wasn't sure if that was legit and I went a day before, turns out that Monday was a day off which wasn't really mentioned anywhere on their building or website, but that was fine even though I got a fever that day as the weather wasn't really well, but I made sure that they will be there the day after.
On the next day, my fever hasn't gone any better but I had to go out to pick up my passport, it was heavily raining and I got all wet waiting for them to open their doors, once I got my passport to my surprise, my visa application has been rejected for the third time in a row.
They neglected my words and wanted me to appeal which by the way requires at least 8 days and an additional fee to pay, I reached out to the organizers and the CEO tried to get in touch with them by email as they don't have any phone number unfortunately, the organizers apologized for such embarrassment as such borders still exist in the 21st century.
Even though all of this has occurred and made me sad, I'll keep going and moving forward, when there's a will, there's always a way.
I managed to get a B1 USA visa that expires after 10 years, meaning it will expire in 2030.
Also turns out you don't really need to migrate to a well developed country to leverage your knowledge and business.