Saudi trainee doctors in Canada allowed to stay longer
Deadline extended to Sept. 22 for students at 5 universities
Five Canadian universities said on Wednesday that Saudi trainee doctors enrolled in their programs had been granted an extra three weeks in the country, a brief reprieve as a spat between the two countries forces nearly 1,000 people to leave their training early.
It was not immediately clear why the extension was granted.
Riyadh also froze new trade with Canada, expelled the country's ambassador and blocked imports of Canadian grain.
An executive associate dean from the University of British Columbia said the school received a letter Wednesday from the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau confirming the extension and saying that students registered for exams Sept. 26-27 can remain in Canada to take them.
Dalhousie University, in Halifax, McGill University, in Montreal, and McMaster University, in Hamilton, confirmed their Saudi students had received an extension.
Saudi Arabia is the largest source of foreign-trained medical residents and fellows in Canada, according to the Saudi Arabian Culture Bureau. It said 514 Saudis accounted for "over 95 percent" of the country's international residency spots in the coming academic year.
"We remain hopeful there can be a resolution in the end that allows our learners to stay," Spadafora said.