Some of the group of South Africans who were stranded in Changchun, China after being scammed by a travel agent have returned home.
According to the SA Embassy in Beijing, 51 young South Africans were enticed by an agent to travel to China on a study visa while planning to work as English teachers. The promise was that they would get their work visas upon arrival in China, which never materialised.
While in China on study visas, they started working, which was in contravention of the immigration laws of China.
The Chinese authorities confirmed on Friday that the passports of the group of 51 South Africans stranded in Changchun, China would be released and an official from the South African Embassy in Beijing would travel to Changchun to provide consular assistance to the group.
The individuals in the group would then be able to return to South Africa.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in a statement on Friday thanked the Chinese authorities for releasing the passports and ensuring that the 51 young people are allowed to leave China for South Africa.
“I am happy that this incident has been resolved. l want to make a call to all South Africans that they must familiarise themselves with the laws and regulations of countries they visit or apply for work.
“They must also ensure that they have the correct documentation before they travel,” said Minister Sisulu.
The Minister said Dirco will launch a campaign in the next few weeks to raise awareness of all South African travellers.
The campaign is titled: “Travel Smart” and is aimed at encouraging South Africans to research their destinations and the laws of the countries they seek to visit or apply for work.
“We have too many South Africans in prisons across the world, which is of concern. We want South Africans to research and gather all necessary information before they travel, so as to avoid taking risks and involving themselves in activities that may be deemed illegal,” said Sisulu.