Embassy closure worries Iranian students
Dozens of Iranian students at UPEI are concerned about the state of relations between Canada and Iran, and how they themselves could be affected.
Last week the Iranian embassy in Ottawa was shut down as Canada cut off diplomatic ties.
"It really was shocking news, first of all. We didn't expect to hear that," said student Amir Hosseinzadeh, President of the UPEI Iranian Society, which has 30 members.
Like most Iranians on campus, Hosseinzadeh is a landed immigrant. His parents came to P.E.I. through the Provincial Nominee Program. Like other landed immigrants, however, he still carries an Iranian passport, and he now has nowhere in Canada to renew it.
Most of his family is still in Iran, so travelling back to see them just became more complicated.
"I need a place to go and renew my passport. So either I have to travel to other countries or to Iran to do that, or I'm going to face some problem," he said.
The problem is compounded for international students, those who are not landed immigrants. If they allow their student visa to expire while still in Canada, they would be in the country illegally.
"Canadian Border Services would be within their rights to ask them to leave the country," said Erica Stanley, an international student advisor at UPEI.
"That's what we hope would not happen, because it is through no fault of their own."
According to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, it is now Iran's responsibility to look after its citizens here in Canada by finding a third country to handle Iranian consular affairs through its own embassy.