Canadian nurses denied entry to US

Henrietta Strickland
March 17, 2017

They say changes to employees visa must be made prior to April 3 in order to expedite them.

Canada is the most important trading partner for more than 30 US states, and according to the Canadian government, almost 9 million depend on trade and investment with Canada.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denies any policy changes.

Marc Topoleski, an immigration attorney representing Henry Ford Health System, told the Detroit News he's learned of similar incidents involving nurse practitioners being denied TN visas.

Kunkel said her current visa doesn't expire until 2018, but she said she and other nurses are anxious that their visas could be revoked at any time.

According to HFHS figures, they had 362 Canadian nurses working for them in 2015, and have actively sought to hire Canadian nurses to fill jobs in specialty areas at their health centres.

It also said CBP is working closely with US Citizenship and Immigration Services "for greater clarity in regards to specialised categories that fall under the registered nurse classification", but did not offer any clarification on that statement.

At first glance, it seems Canadian employees of Sault, Michigan's War Memorial Hospital have not been affected by new US immigration policies.

Laurie Tannous, a special adviser at the Cross Border Institute at the University of Windsor in Ontario, said reports of border problems might not be related to any direct CBP policy changes but instead a more literal reading of Nafta regulations by border officials under the Trump administration.

Patti Kunkel, an advanced clinical nurse practitioner from LaSalle, a small community near Windsor, Ont., works at Henry Ford. In the meantime, he said, it could put hundreds of specialized nurses at risk of not being able to get to their jobs for months while they await new visas. "Now they are reading line-by-line".

Canadian nurses recently blocked from their jobs at USA hospitals because of issues with their work visas could once again have access to cross the border, according to American immigration lawyers.

One option is another visa for highly-skilled workers, known as H-1B visas.

Patti Kunkel, a Windsor, Ontario, area resident who's been a nurse in Detroit since 2000, said she's anxious that she may be stopped at the border and her privileges to work here revoked because she's a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse with advanced training able to diagnose and treat illness and prescribe medication to patients.

"There's a nursing shortage in MI".

"Everybody is asking what does this mean for them", she said during the news conference.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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