Thang Duy Dao

Link: Silicon Austrian Labs (SAL), Villach

We really, really appreciate all the assistance and encouragement we got from the CIC Relocation Service during our relocation period.

When I applied for a job at SAL in Villach, my family and I were living in Japan. I searched the Internet for Villach and was curious to see whether there was an international community, then I found the CIC webpage. It provides so much information about living in Villach that is important for foreigners and I also began to follow the CIC Facebook entries. It gave me a positive first impression of Villach and the CIC.

After I had signed my work contract and started to prepare for the work and residence permit (Arbeits- und Aufenthaltsbewilligung) for my family and me, I contacted the CIC Relocation Service. They provided me with information and, even more importantly, they assisted me in the preparation of all the necessary application forms and documents. This was a laborious task in itself. It was even more laborious in my case, because we are Vietnamese citizens who were living in Japan. It took me two trips to Vietnam and an appointment with the Austrian Embassy in Hanoi plus another visit to the Vietnamese embassy in Japan to get all documents together.

During that period, Patrizia from the CIC Relocation Service and I were in very close contact. We emailed almost every day. For the urgent papers I called her or we skyped, sometimes for 30 to 50 minutes. Patrizia went through every application form with me, line by line, corrected things when necessary and checked if any document was missing. Most of all, she encouraged me to keep going during this tough time. She invested so much time and effort to support me - I cannot thank her enough.

An apartment was a prerequisite for the residence permit as well. We tried to find something by ourselves at first, but soon thought it better to rely on the expertise of the CIC Relocation team and their knowledge of the location. Patrizia found a semi-furnished flat in walking distance of my work that came with a balcony and river and mountain view. From what we saw from her pictures, the apartment was very nice and when we closed the rental contract, Patrizia was even successful in negotiating down the price. Patrizia also picked up us when we arrived in Villach. On the following day, she accompanied us to the City Hall office for the resident registration. She also accompanied us to the bank, supermarket and kindly advised us on other information about living in Villach.

Once we found the apartment, the last task was my children’s education. The CIC provided us with recommendations for elementary school for my son and kindergarten for my daughter. Next, they made appointments with the ISC and the headmaster of a local school. We consulted with them in our decision making process. Isabel from the CIC accompanied us to visit a local German-speaking school that we had decided on. She accompanied our son on his first day of school to school; she talked with the class teacher and caught up on what was necessary. The CIC also came up with ideas and contacts for after school activities, such as soccer and swimming clubs and the local music school. Isabel still contacts me every other week to ask how we are, how my son is doing at school, if everything is fine.

Happily, thanks to the joint effort of the CIC team, we have sorted out everything positively and we look forward to the future.