Parents want help for children ‘trapped’ in China

20 June 2018 - 14:39 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now
Due to visa issues‚ the 50 teachers are battling to return to South Africa.
Due to visa issues‚ the 50 teachers are battling to return to South Africa.
Image: Facebook/Our Abandoned Kids In China

Parents of 50 teachers have asked for donations to help their children‚ who are stuck in China after a bogus agent left them on the wrong side of the law.

The money is for travel costs and for food‚ water and accommodation.

Liza Bold‚ the mother of 21-year-old Lee-Ann‚ said her blood pressure was sky-high because her child was stranded in a foreign country.

Bold‚ and the parents of 49 other young hopefuls‚ are in a predicament after what seemed like a big break for their unemployed youngsters was turned into a nightmare. Due to visa issues‚ their children are battling to return home.

Like many young South Africans‚ Lee-Ann‚ who is a qualified software developer‚ could not secure a job in her field. So she decided to grab whatever promising opportunity came her way.

Bold said she‚ her daughter and a group of others went to a conference where an agent from China gave them a presentation‚ promising them jobs there.

But‚ according to Bold‚ the agent withheld important information like the fact that one cannot get a work visa for teaching English in China without a bachelor of arts degree.

The job hopefuls‚ mostly in their 20s‚ were not required to pay for anything and‚ therefore‚ concluded that the offer was legit.

“When they arrived the agent took their passports and promised he will arrange their work permits while they were placed at a university to learn arts and culture for two weeks‚” said Bold.

But in an unexpected turn of events‚ the group was subjected to a criminal investigation after the agent who recruited them got arrested. Officials probing the agent confiscated their passports.

“Her grandmother died in April and I went to see her‚ hoping that I will get her back for the burial. We postponed the funeral for two weeks and I couldn’t come back with her. She was close to her grandmother and not being able to bury her broke her heart. My blood pressure is sky-high‚ I am not coping‚” said Bold.

She added that the South African embassy in China could not help them as the group was a part of an investigation.

It is believed the agent had been paid R40‚000 per recruit‚ while each of those recruited were expecting a salary of R16‚000 a month.

Bold said the stranded group is battling as the university gives them a grace of R40 per day and houses them in a dormitory. This means they can only afford one meal a day and water‚ said Bold.

“Parents and good Samaritans have been sending them money and they share among each other. I am just relieved they are safe‚ though this is frustrating‚” she said.

They have now created a fundraising page to try and get the would-be teachers home.

According to the Chinese Embassy in South Africa‚ last year it and the Consulates General in South Africa issued over 1‚200 work visas to the South African citizens‚ most of who intend to work as English teachers there.

“The Chinese Embassy in South Africa would like to take this opportunity to welcome the South African friends to China to teach English‚ but especially remind them to carefully read the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People's Republic of China and Rules for the Administration of Employment of Foreigners in China to fully understand how to work legally in China‚” the embassy said.

They highlighted the following requirements for foreigners to work in China:

  • Chinese employers shall be legally registered‚ and their offers for foreigners shall be specialised posts that comply with Chinese national regulations‚ when no suitable Chinese candidates are available;
  • Foreign employees shall be aged 18 and above‚ in good health and without criminal record‚ and have necessary professional skills and expertise;
  • Foreign applicants shall proceed to a Chinese embassy or consulate to apply for work visas by presenting a Foreigner's Work Permit Notice issued by Chinese competent authorities;
  • The foreigners shall be admitted to China for work only upon a work visa approved and issued;
  • Work location and post shall be consistent with the information on the Foreigner's Work Permit Notice. For instance‚ the Chinese study and tourist visas holders shall not be engaged in paid employment in China; and
  • Foreign employees shall apply for a Foreigner's Work Permit and a work-type residence permit within 30 days upon arrival in China.
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now