Yes, it does matter. It matters whether you’re in violation of a given law when you’re living abroad as a foreign national.
I agreed to take on a part-time job that was offered through the University to me. It’s just a few hours a week teaching at some high school in the city. Well, the University took so long to get the paperwork done (and perhaps the two schools took so long to conclude their negotiations, as well), that by the time I was supposed to begin teaching, the paperwork was still not done. On the second day of the class I was supposed to teach, the papers finally came in, but I was teaching until 4:20pm, which meant it would be impossible to get to the immigration office and back for a class at 5:00pm.
Regardless, when she brought the paperwork to me, the secretary told me that someone would come pick me up to come teach that evening. This had been arranged. In fact, two people acted as if going to teach the class, and leave the filing of the papers until after, would be a totally natural thing to do. A legal thing to do. I am glad I know enough to refuse to do that, but it’s really not good when your employer is encouraging you to do things that could get you deported.
In a similar vein, one of the guys I work with will be overstaying his visa after today. By 2:30pm yesterday, the office still hadn’t processed his paperwork so that he could go to the immigration office. This, despite the fact that overstaying your visa incurs a fine which, I’ve been told, can vary depending on a number of factors including the mood of the supervising officer on hand. This isn’t the kind of thing that lands one in prison, but I don’t understand why, knowing for months that his visa would need renewal, nothing was done until the day before his last legal day in the country.
Legalities are important, and I really wish I could depend on my employer to be informed about them, and not try to encourage me to violate the law. It’s disconcerting and I don’t understand. With the other guy’s visa, it’s a case of careful paperwork and getting things done ahead of time. But with my case, it’s more perplexing. What good could come from having me begin teaching before it’s legal for me to do so? I don’t understand at all.