Saudi medical students to remain at Queen’s

University no longer losing 37 medical trainees

On Aug 28., the government of Saudi Arabia told Canadian universities they would allow Saudi medical trainees to remain in the country to complete their studies. The 37 Saudi medical students at Queen's provide patient care at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC).

Saudi Arabian medical students training at Queen’s will be allowed to complete their studies, according to a statement from the University.

After the recent diplomatic fallout between Canada and Saudi Arabia, the latter withdrew more than 15,000 international students who were studying in Canada.

Of the 79 Saudi students at Queen’s, 37 medical trainees spread across 16 programs at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) will remain in the country.

As previously reported the remaining 42 Saudi students at Queen’s will still be forced to leave the country before completing their degrees. 

Last week, the government of Saudi Arabia issued a statement  extending the deadline for the students’ departure to Sept. 22, although their government-funded scholarships are null by Aug. 31.

In a statement, KHSC Medical Affairs Director Christopher Gillies, wrote, “this is good news for KHSC and for the 37 Saudi Arabian medical residents, who are an integral part of our inter-professional patient care team.” 

“We had been working closely with our educational partners at Queen’s University and within our organization to prepare for their imminent departure and make sure there would be minimal impact on patients,” Gillies said.

“Now we can focus our attention on continuing to support these residents in completing their medical education in Kingston.”

In a written statement to The Journal, Interim Provost Tom Harris confirmed the University’s correspondence with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau.

“All Saudi medical trainees in Canada in residency and fellowship programs may, at their option, remain in their programs until they have obtained final admission into equivalent training programs in other countries,” Harris wrote.

“Further, those trainees who are currently on a Leave of Absence may, at their option, return to their programs and resume their training in Canada.”

He also confirmed Queen’s is offering the remaining Saudi students supports to ease their departures.

According to Harris, the University will “work with students to process withdrawals or leaves of absence, while ensuring that students can return to their studies at Queen’s when they are allowed to do so.”

Queen’s will expedite the completion of degrees for students near graduation and will also speed the production of their diplomas, which they would normally receive after fall convocation.

This story is developing and will be updated when more information is available.

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