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Statement concerning the evolving situation for Saudi Arabian students

Queen’s offers Saudi Arabian students the support of the university community at this stressful and difficult time.

Recent diplomatic tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia have resulted in the Saudi Arabian government’s order to all Saudi Arabian students on government-funded scholarships and medical education programs to leave Canada by the end of the summer.

The Queen’s community is saddened by this news, and offers our Saudi Arabian students the support of the university community at this stressful and difficult time. We truly value the contributions our international students bring to the university both academically and socially; our lives are all enriched by the opportunities we share to work and learn together.

As a leading academic and research institution in Canada, Queen’s University will provide what information and options it can to any Saudi Arabian student registered at the university that is impacted by this evolving situation, while respecting utmost the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  

Universities Canada continues to brief the Government of Canada on the human impact of the Saudi government’s decision and the toll on the talented Saudi Arabian students who have come to Canada for higher education, research and medical training opportunities.

Queen’s is working closely with our post-secondary education partners in the U15 and Universities Canada, who continue to work closely with the federal government in efforts to find a flexible path forward, and to identify optimal outcomes for affected students that will minimize the disruption in their studies or research programs. Options being discussed nationally include:

  • exploring online courses;
  • credit transfer arrangements with partner schools;
  • academic leave;
  • fast-tracking PhD defense and graduation dates; and,
  • other similar creative solutions.  

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is also preparing specific guidelines outlining different scenarios and recourses that will be available to students.

Queen’s has 79 Saudi students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, School of English, executive education, and postgraduate medical training programs, 56 of whom are sponsored by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The majority of the sponsored students are medical trainees who are providing patient care across 16 programs. The Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Queen’s are working to ensure there is no impact on patient care as a result of this issue and are supporting the trainees as additional information becomes available.

Queen’s has posted information about the situation on its website and will continue to ensure that services are provided to help those Saudi Arabian students who may need them. Students are reminded that this is a fluid and evolving situation; as things change we will update and share information on our website.

We all remain hopeful that a timely resolution can be achieved.

Tom Harris

Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)