Saudi students granted EXTENSION to leave Canada amid diplomatic row over human rights

The students will be expected to continue working in Canadian hospitals, unless they have already made arrangements to leave.

An agreement allowing the delay was brokered between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Canada.

The delay will help Canadian hospitals deal with the sudden loss of medical staff.

David Pichora, CEO of Kingston Health Sciences Centre, admitted: “Their absence will be real.

“We’ll have to figure out the best way to accommodate that.”

It is expected that many attending physicians working in Canadian hospitals will have to work longer hours, leaving less time for research work.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants could also see their hours extended.

Canada had a long-standing agreement with Saudi Arabia to provide their doctors with specialist training.

The training, which cost an estimated $100,000 (£60,000) per doctor is paid for by the Saudi government.

During the training, the Saudi doctors work in and help to support Canadian hospitals.

It is unclear what will happen to the Saudi students, many of whom will be unable to complete their exams.

Andrew Padmos, head of the Canadian Royal College of Physicians, warned The Globe and Mail newspaper: “In some cases, they will face the prospect of either never finishing their training or possibly starting over again close to the beginning.”

The ongoing row between Saudi and Canada began when a Canadian government Twitter account raised concerns surrounding the treatment of Saudi human rights activists, who can face brutal punishments.

The official Foreign Policy Canada account Tweeted: “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi.

“We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.”

In response the Saudi government accused Canada of interfering in its internal affairs, and retaliated by halting trad, cancelling thousands of academic scholarships, and stopping all flights to Canada on the national airline.