What is the change? Saudi Arabia has ordered approximately 16,000 Saudi students in Canada to leave the country following a diplomatic dispute that erupted between the two countries last week.

What does the change mean? While there is no immediate impact on other Saudi nationals traveling to or living in Canada or to Canadian nationals traveling to or living in Saudi Arabia, the situation is fluid and visas could be impacted if the rift deepens.

Key points:

  • The dispute began after Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland criticized the Saudi government for arresting human rights activists, including the sister of a prominent jailed Saudi activist whose wife and children are naturalized Canadian citizens.
  • In response, Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador, recalled its own ambassador, halted new trade and investment with Canada, and suspended Saudi state-owned flights to Canada. Saudi students in Canada were ordered home within 30 days.
  • The kingdom is taking steps to transfer all Saudi medical patients out of Canada to be treated in other countries.

BAL Analysis: Saudi officials said Wednesday that they are considering additional retaliatory measures against Canada. BAL is watching developments and will inform clients of any changes that affect visas or work permits for Saudi and Canadian nationals. In the meantime, companies should account for all Saudi employees in Canada and Canadian employees in Saudi Arabia.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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