A story of bureaucratic madness

This is a story of bureaucratic madness in which the obtuseness of procedures is linked to the IT domain that looms, always, over us all. Dr. Who is a Chinese citizen doing research and went to work in Paris on a post-doctoral fellowship. Last year, a temporary research position opened up in Italy and Dr Who won it. The research centre where he works instigates the procedure to obtain the nulla osta that is prodromal to the granting of the visa. The Nulla Osta, after various delays, is granted on 1 June when Dr. Who’s contract is supposed to begin. Dr. Who goes to the Italian consulate in Paris with the hard copy of the nulla osta and discovers that it must be sent to the consulate by the Prefecture of Rome (single immigration desk) via an internal computer protocol: unfortunately there is a computer problem and the procedure is suspended indefinitely. In the meantime, Dr. Who no longer has a job in Paris, cannot start work in Rome and will soon have to return to China as the extension of the visa he obtained in Paris also expires. The prefecture has been asked, as has the consulate, and the answer from both is that the computer problem is not their fault: a ticket has been opened (who did it? When will it be resolved? Mystery). The incredible thing is that there is no plan B: sending the Nulla Osta via a PEC, an email, an ordinary letter or even a carrier pigeon. None of this, it has to be done only via the internal IT route, which is currently broken down. So Dr. Who got to know Italy and got to know it so well that he will never go back, even if he is now a prisoner like Tom Hanks in ‘The Terminal’. For those of us who are here and have done everything we can to solve this stupid problem with dramatic consequences for Dr. Who’s life and career, there remains the humiliation of living in a country where the computerisation of public administration means putting citizens in the hands of nonsensical procedures whose responsibility lies with some obscure personage who can hardly ever be identified. 


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