People @ Personio – Arun Prakash’s relocation story

Across each of our European offices, Personios join our team from every corner of the globe. Together, we all work to fulfill our core purpose of Enabling Better Organizations.

In fact, we have more than 63 different nationalities and cultures represented across our organization! 🤩 And, in 2020 alone, we successfully relocated 22 people with plans for even more in each of our four growing offices in Germany, Spain, the UK, and Ireland. No matter where you come from, if you are talented and embody our values and operating principles, we want to hear from you!

All that in mind, every relocation story is unique and comes with different challenges and lessons to learn. In this blog, our teammate Arun Prakash, who started back in 01.06.2019 in our Product & Engineering department, shares his unique story of relocating his family from India to Germany during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What I Do & Why I Love It

#Ownership

I’m a Quality Assurance Engineer in the Engineering Department and I, along with my teammates, am responsible for building a quality product at Personio.

Together, we create the testing strategy and build different tools and frameworks necessary for improving the quality of our product.

Unlike a traditional Quality Assurance team, my favorite aspect of working at Personio is that we work like a Quality Assistance team. This means we assist the Development Team with different ways of improving quality which results in a truly shared sense of responsibility!

team event along with VP and CTO

Team event back in the days

My Journey From India To Germany

I come from Kerala, otherwise known as God’s own country, which is a southern state in India. I’m also married to my wife Lekshmy and we have a three year old child, Sathvika.

I started my career in 2010 as a Quality Assurance Engineer in Infosys Limited, an enterprise company. Before moving to Munich, I worked at two other enterprise companies and all my work was located in India.

In 2019, while I was working at Oracle, I talked to my wife about moving to a foreign country and getting to know different cultures. She was extremely happy about the idea. We shortlisted Germany, since it’s very international, and I then went through LinkedIn and Glassdoor to find the right company. I wanted a company that could offer flexible work time, a startup culture and a good work-life balance. Personio matched every criteria!

After about 1.6 years at Personio, I don’t regret the decision at all. Personio is really the kind of company where everyone would love to work. It’s a company with many talented people, working towards the core purpose of ‘Enabling Better Organizations,’ and I’m really proud to be part of it.

What Was My Recruiting Experience With Personio Like?

I started searching for jobs in January 2019, applied to Personio in February and got the job offer in March. The interview process was really smooth and it was exactly as detailed in the career page

Then came the most challenging part, which is getting a work visa. The main challenge during the visa application process was getting an appointment at the German consulate. The consulate releases the appointment at 3:30 AM Indian time. I tried for many days by waking up early in the morning and looking for an appointment. But, I failed every time.

That’s when Personio came to the rescue, offering the support from a relocation agency VISARIGHT. With their help, I managed to get one appointment and got my visa stamped in May. The agency took care of everything starting from applying for a temporary work visa to getting a Blue Card. 

This was my first time traveling to a foreign country, so I decided to first go alone, and bring my family with me afterwards. I reached Munich in May 2019 and started working in June. 

The next big challenge was finding an apartment! I managed to get one in August and then my family applied for their own visa to join me. After about four months, their visa got approved in February 2020. I then flew to India for more than a month’s vacation to bring my family with me to Munich.

Then Came Covid-19

Then, out of all the things you don’t want to happen, happened! 🤦🏽‍♂️

1. On my arrival to the airport, I was asked by the health officials to undergo a 28-day quarantine due to Covid-19. Luckily, my manager and Personio allowed me to work from India.

2. Within a month of arriving in India, all international flights were suspended and the country went into lockdown. After about three months, in July, we booked a flight back to Munich hoping operations would resume. But, things didn’t happen as expected, and our flight got cancelled.

3. Then, the next problem came. Since the visa for my family was only temporary, it expired before we even left India. We applied for an extension in August. But, due to the pandemic and the KVR in Munich handling a lot of cases, we didn’t get any updates from the consulate about the extension. After about two months, in October, we received our new visa.

4. Sadly, the problems didn’t stop there: India had an air bubble agreement with Germany, but due to some disputes, it was cancelled in October. Hence, all the flights operating between India and Germany were cancelled. Luckily, by the end of October, it got solved and we were able to book a flight in November.

On November 6th, we finally landed in Munich! Even though the journey took approximately 24 hours, my family was so excited to be here. Once the pandemic eases, they are looking forward to properly experiencing Munich’s vibrant culture!

That said, the main highlight of this whole journey is that, during these hard times, the People & Workplace team, along with my manager, supported me a lot.

Munich 2020

Olympiapark, Munich 2020

Lessons I Can Share About Relocating

❄️ Be ready for a change in climate!

If you are coming from a more tropical country, be prepared for a different style of weather! Especially if you are relocating during the winter months, don’t forget to pack plenty of warm clothes and a jacket.

💆🏽‍♂️ Keep calm and don’t stress

Sometimes the visa process can take longer than expected. Keep in mind that it’s a single office, which processes loads of visas in Munich, and so the process can be a bit delayed. Don’t stress out, though, because you’ll get it eventually!

💛 Remember: Everyone Is Here For You

You are never alone in the relocation process. Personio, especially the People & Workplace team is ready to answer any questions you may have, at any time.

Looking to start a new chapter in your personal and professional life, and waiting for a sign! Here it is! Apply and #StartUpYourWay with Personio today! Check out our open positions.

After all, you may be the next one to tell your relocation story with us.