Saudi Arabia’s reported suspension of educational programs in Canada could have a big financial impact on Canada’s economy.
A tweet from Saudi Ministry of Education spokesman Mubarak Alosaimi on Sunday said that he had been instructed to stop training programs, scholarships and fellowships in Canada, and to facilitate the smooth transition of students to other countries.
The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in Canada said on Twitter that students, whether funded by the government or at their own expense, must stop studying in Canada at the end of the lunar year. Students have been instructed to end all commitments and apply for a plane ticket home within one month.
The news of the apparent suspensions came just hours after Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said it was freezing “all new business” with Canada and recalling its ambassador in retaliation for comments Canada made on human rights.
Saudi Arabia was the sixth-biggest source of long-term international students in Canada in 2015, with 11,650 studying in Canada, according to a report prepared for Global Affairs.
Long-term foreign students spent an average of $35,100 per year, the report said.
There were also 5,622 short-term students from Saudi Arabia, according to the report. The report says short-term students spent, on average, $900 per week.