Important: The deadline for KSA trainees to return to Saudi Arabia or go to another country has been extended to September 22, 2018.


To all members of the Faculty of Medicine,

I am writing to provide a brief update on the situation following last week’s announcement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to cease funding for students from Saudi Arabia studying in Canada and to oblige them to leave the country. We have met with the Faculty’s residents and fellows from Saudi Arabia and are collaborating with McGill’s Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) with respect to our graduate students from Saudi Arabia.

We understand this represents a significant challenge for these individuals and sincerely hope a diplomatic solution between the Government of Canada and the KSA will be possible. At this moment, however, the KSA’s decree remains in place requiring all students from Saudi Arabia to leave Canada by August 31, 2018.

Postgraduate medical education residents and fellows

With respect to our residents and fellows from Saudi Arabia, we are relieving them of clinical duties, effective August 24, 2018 (end of Rotation/Block 2), so that they may make the necessary arrangements to leave the country. Our goal is to give them time to complete their current clinical rotation to the extent possible. We understand that, in some cases, trainees are planning to leave earlier than August 31 and will need time between now and their departure date to make their arrangements. We are asking our Residency/Fellowship Program Directors to support them by exercising flexibility and accommodating requests to be relieved of clinical and research activities as needed.

To support our Saudi residents and fellows during this difficult period, the Faculty will offer leaves of absence from August 31, 2018 to February 10, 2019, with the possibility of an extension, to be determined based on the situation at that time. The PGME office will be in contact with the trainees and their respective Program Directors regarding leaves of absence, certificates and letters of attestation.

Graduate students

As mentioned, we are collaborating with the GPS office for our graduate students throughout the Faculty. A meeting was held by GPS specifically to address their concerns, and additional information, including a summary of resources, was provided by the GPS office in an email issued to them on Friday, August 10.


The situation continues to evolve, with discussions taking place at the highest levels across Canadian universities and with the other concerned parties. Should you have questions regarding this issue, please do not hesitate to reach out, as follows:

If you receive inquiries from members of the media, please direct them to McGill’s Media Relations Office at

This is a difficult situation for all of us across the Faculty. Thank you for your collaboration and support as we navigate through this. We will continue to update you as needed.



Dr. Samuel Benaroya

Associate Vice-Principal and Vice-Dean (Health Affairs)

Faculty of Medicine



Previous update: 

August 9th | Update on situation with Saudi Arabia



August 16, 2018