In August 2018, the Government of Saudi Arabia announced that they would cancel the funding for scholarship programs in Canada. All Saudi Arabian students who were studying abroad in Canada were asked to leave the country by the end of the Summer (September 2018). As a result, students were also asked to have their scholarships transferred to institutions outside of Canada to continue their studies.
Since this announcement in August, the Saudi Ministry of Education has announced that scholarships will remain in place for all medical trainees. This includes physicians, dentists, and nurses and their dependents. The ministry has also announced that students in these programs will be able to rejoin their academic programs in either the Fall or Winter term. They will receive a new financial scholarship issued by the Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau.
Students that are eligible for (and will receive) new financial scholarships issued by the Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau include:
Medical trainees (physicians, dentists, and nurses)
Graduate (masters & PhD) students in all academic disciplines
Undergraduate scholarship students in the final year of their bachelor programs
It is important to note that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will only consider financial sponsorship certificates from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau as valid proof of funds for applications for study permits and study permit extensions from students.
New Study Permit Applications
The process of applying for a study permit has now changed. Saudi Arabian students who are not eligible for new financial scholarships (i.e. medical trainees, graduate students, and undergraduate students in the final year of their bachelor programs) as the sole proof of their funds must provide additional documentation. These students will receive a request for additional proof of funds from an immigration officer. They will have 30 days to provide this proof and submit it to the Government.
Additional Proof Provided
If the student is able to provide additional proof of funds within the 30-day window, the officer will assess the application and into consideration the new proof of funds.
Additional Proof Not Provided
If the student is unable to provide proof of funds, the officer will not be satisfied that the student will be able to pay for tuition. This, in turn, indicates that the student will not be able to pay for tuition and support themselves (and any dependents) while studying in Canada. As a result, the officer will refuse the application. This refusal falls in accordance with section 220 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, which states:
220.1 (4) Evidence of compliance with conditions
The holder of a study permit must provide evidence to an officer of their compliance with the conditions set out in subsection (1) if
(a) the officer requests the evidence because the officer has reason to believe that the permit holder is not complying or has not complied with one or more of the conditions; or
(b) the officer requests the evidence as part of a random assessment of the overall level of compliance with those conditions by permit holders who are or were subject to them.