Hassan Al Kontar was stuck living in an airport for seven months. Now, he’s finally getting asylum and permanent residency in Canada.
Al Kontar is a Syrian refugee who was forced to live in the Kuala Lumpur airport for the better part of a year. He has been trying since February 2018 to travel to countries that would allow Syrians to enter without a visa. He said he was repeatedly denied so he became stranded in the airport while he waited it out. He survived on food donations from travelers and airport staff.
Al Kontar’s daily routine was well-documented. He shared videos and photos online that showed the humor and sadness of living confined in the airport.
In October 2018, he was arrested by Malaysian officials for remaining in the airport without a boarding pass. He was reportedly then held in a Malaysian detention center for two months.
A group of Canadian volunteers saw his videos and started a petition to sponsor him. The Canadian visa process usually takes up to 26 months but luckily for Al Kontar, his visa was expedited and approved. He departed Malaysia for Vancouver on November 26 and landed late that night. He has also been offered a full-time job at a hotel in the area.