Disclaimer: this is an edited article taken from ExpatGuides.
A Cape Town man was reportedly stranded at Shenyang Taoxian International Airport in eastern China after his visa expired following the sudden loss of his teaching job, which he took up during November.
Henry van Neel, from Macassar, arrived in China on November 10 to take up a contract position at a Training School in the Pidu district of Chengdu City in Sichuan province.
Van Neel’s story is recounted in an email sent by a fellow South African, Mario Segal, who said he was writing from Tongzhou, Beijing. Segal is the founder of SEESworld, a non-profit group that advocates for workers, communities and small businesses.
In the email, Van Neel was described as “a South African teacher with over two decades of exemplary conduct, with all Chinese required documents authorised by Dirco (Department of International Relations and Co-operation) before he left SA.”
In his email, Segal also said that Van Neel’s health was failing. “I have grave fears for him; his health is deteriorating rapidly. He requires urgent consulate assistance this morning.”
“Van Neel taught at the school from November 11 until November 28. They paid him 2000 renminbi (R4139.80), then fired him for no valid reason.”
“He is owed the severance payment of 10000 RMB (R20699), and unpaid wages,” said Segal.
Van Neel appeared to have travelled from the school to Shenyang airport in Liaoning, bordering North Korea, where he was stranded.
Segal said: “Van Neel has no money and his family is unable to help. He does have a ticket to Seoul that his local church in South Africa organised. He has been advised he cannot use the ticket and as his Chinese visa expired two days ago, so he cannot travel.”
Soon after the original news was published, a response came from Henry, as per Segal: “A Mr Stephens Makwela (First Secretary Admin & Consular South African Embassy, Beijing) confirmed that he spoke with Van Neel this morning.”
“I was so relieved as we were unsure how he would survive the night.”, said Segal.
However, when contacted for comment, Makwela said: “It would be appreciated if your enquiry can be directed to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) who will respond to you appropriately.”
At the time of publication, Dirco had not responded to enquiries.
Source: IOL.co.za, Jobtubedaily & ExpatGuides