News & Notes 636:New Year Entry Service Report
New Year Entry Service Report
A New Year, but first, what happened in the old year (2015)? The Entry Team entered into a process with 112 people who chose to become Newcomers and were confirmed by the Community. In the same year, 61 other people became Aurovilians confirmed by all of us. Welcome and congratulations to all of us for our growth. (See chart below)
Last year countless people have dropped by the office at our Help Desk, but we 'officially' recorded 900 of them in our log book to document their requests and needs. So our little office is normally a very crowded place, in fact way too small and inadequate to face the challenges. However, we are very happy that a new project is in the pipeline for an integrated reception to Auroville called “The Welcome Hub”. This new public facility for Auroville would be sited in the International Zone and care for all those who wish to engage with Auroville in a way beyond what the Visitors' Centre is there to do. Anyone who wishes to stay in Auroville for some time as a volunteer, guest, or potential Newcomer can avail themselves of a more or less one-stop service in this welcome house where the offices of Entry, SAVI, and Guest/Accommodation Services share the same space along with counters for the other needs that may be there. If you can do your C-form, get an Auro-card, sim card, place to stay, a place to work, find out everything you need to know to join Auroville, as well as rent a bicycle and have a cup of tea; well, wouldn't that be a blessing! By the time Auroville is fifty, let's do this.
The Aspiration Program for Newcomers (Aurovilians join too) and the Welcome Talks for applicants all continue on a regular basis. Another fun potluck at Dreamers' Cafe for Newcomers (Aurovilians too) took place on February 6th.
New members are joining the Entry Service. We are beginning trial periods with Giri, Christiane, and Aurora. Jitta will be moving on beginning of March. Ishita will be concentrating only on the B-forms. Others have volunteered as resource persons or for special assignments.
Now there is the go-ahead from the Auroville Council for the New Entry Policy. We begin on 21 February with the statuses of Friend of Auroville (re-instated), Spouse/Relative of Aurovilian, and Associate of Auroville. The Mentor aspect of the policy is still coming together after some workshops organized with potential members.
As mentioned in the Working Committee Report (N&N 6 Feb), visa policies have tightened up and overstaying or misuse of visas result in blacklisting your name so that renewals are not granted. This has already happened to some Aurovilians. The Auroville Entry Visa is only valid for living and working in Auroville itself, and any travel inside or outside of India must be registered in the Entry Service for Newcomers or in the Residents' Service for Aurovilians. Please keep track of your own passport/visa expiry (start at least two months before expiry) to avoid disasters.
Last note for those starting a Newcomer Process: please return the Newcomer Kit (the five forms needed to start) within one month after you pick it up. The Kit cannot be accepted until all the forms are done. Entry Service does not have time or staff to chase people with reminders. If the Kit does not come back in time, the Newcomer process goes on hold. We have to keep moving but that depends on the Newcomer...
- New Residents of Auroville from January 2015 to December 2015: 61
- Current Newcomers in the process: 112
Entry Service Team (Jitta, B, Chitra, Eva, Ishita, Matilde, Neeti)