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I've had similar problems here in france. I'm PADI trained, and have done almost all my diving in UK waters. When I moved here three years ago, there was no agreement between PADI and the French Federation (FFESSM) that all the clubs are affiliated to. No agreement between the two, and in general the clubs won't take you. At that particular point in time, all PADI divers were considered by the FFESSM as unqualified to dive in france :-(
It took 18 months, the signing of an agreement between the two agencies (that they recognise each other, and putting in place methods to crossover), and trying several clubs before I was able to join a club (even after the agencies had signed an agreement). Fortunately I have managed to find a decent club (that were prepared to put the effort in so that I could get a federal licence) and am now happily diving with them.