An update on the U.S. Executive Order on Immigration and Travel

Canada’s universities continue to follow closely the impacts of the Executive Order (EO) issued by the American Administration last week preventing individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.  

On February 3, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a stay suspending the order. This means at this time land and airports of entry are prohibited from enforcing the EO.  

Despite this, the current situation remains unpredictable. Students and faculty who wish to travel to the United States should consider their options carefully.

At the University of Waterloo, we are committed to taking care of our campus community, those who are here now and students and faculty who want to engage with us.

I wanted to share some of the steps we are taking as we continue to assess and to act upon the situation.

Since the EO was issued, senior leadership from undergraduate, graduate, international, co-op, government relations, communications and legal offices have been meeting daily to share information received from internal and external sources and to determine how to support our community.  

University officials have also spent several days consulting faculty and students affected by the new measures. We have taken action by responding directly to questions, sourcing information, developing strategies and putting in place measures including:

  • Streamlining  our admissions process and extending the application deadline for graduate studies to March 1, 2017
  • Reviewing  with the Associate Deans, Graduate the ability to process transfer applicants in an expeditious manner including vetting the transfers and matching students with a supervisor
  • Continuing the University’s program for International Visiting Graduate Students, providing supervisory support and space at UWaterloo for students to complete their graduate studies
  • Working directly with co-op students whose situations are impacted
  • Reviewing the potential to provide financial assistance to staff and faculty who have paid for and had to cancel plans because of their inability to travel as a result of the EO
  • Committing to assisting undergraduate students from the seven affected countries on an individual basis and easing the application process as required
  • Liaising with Canadian authorities to have a keen understanding of the cross travel constraints and solutions

Diversity is a strength of this university and of our country.  All of our students, faculty and staff, no matter where they come from, help to strengthen our community, bring new knowledge, talent and skills to higher education, research and innovation — to the benefit of all Canadians. At the University of Waterloo, we stand proudly for these values.

We expect that there will continue to be questions and potential issues raised for academics, researchers and students who may be impacted. For these, please contact: Jeff Casello, Graduate Studies; Yanick Charbonneau, Office of General Counsel; Ray Darling, Registrar.

For students on a co-op term or contemplating one or those on an exchange, and potentially impacted, please contact: Peggy Jarvie, Co-operative Education and Career Action; Ian Rowlands, Waterloo International. 

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