Antiguan student in China stuck behind a great visa wall

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The parent of a young man studying in China is calling for assistance to get the 21-year-old architect major back in Antigua through Canada after the North American country disallowed visa-free travel for citizens.
Linda Hogan said that her son, a second-year student, was scheduled to return home on July 15, through Canada, but the new requirement means the student will now need a visa to be in transit there.
Hogan said her son was told that he would need to seek the visa and the young man attempted to do so without success
“I can’t even explain my frustration; I haven’t eaten much since last week Tuesday because I just need to know that my son and the other children that have this problem will be sorted out. My son already went to the embassy and they are giving him problem saying he need this and he need that. He doesn’t live there, he is a student studying there, he is just trying to get home,” Hogan explained yesterday.
On June 26, the Canadian government announced it would end visa free travel of all Antigua & Barbuda citizens and those intending to go there would have to acquire a visa in Trinidad & Tobago.
Hogan said that her son went to the embassy in China after applying online where he was told it would take two to three weeks to be issued a visa.
“I’ve been to see my Member of Parliament, I went to see Maurice Merchant twice and to no avail. The airline is not going to reimburse me my money and we are trying to get him on another flight from China through Dubai and that is money I would have to spend, which is ridiculousness,” the mother said.
On May 6, Hogan said she purchased the airline ticket that would take the student through Canada at a cost of almost $5,000, but since the airfare will not be refunded, a new ticket through a UK carrier will cost over $8,000
But when contacted, Merchant, the government’s Director General of Communications said he has been more than helpful to Hogan, providing instructions to her son and other students in China, in a June 28 email.
Merchant forwarded the email he sent to the students which informed them how to go about getting the visa.
In a conversation with Hogan on Monday night, Merchant said the mother highlighted her plight and he asked her to provide certain information.
“Since he couldn’t get the visa, I indicated to her to let us focus on getting the ticket changed and she said that the travel agency is giving her problem. I told her to give me the name of the person she spoke to and I told her that I would let her know what would need to be done. She sent the travel information she booked with [the courier],” he said.
Merchant said that after speaking with the courier service, he has exhausted all efforts to help the student.

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