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US Border Protection clarifies visa rules for Canadian nurses

Mar 20, 2017

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has clarified what seems to have been a misinterpretation of NAFTA law, which led to a number of Canadian nurses working in Detroit being denied work visa renewals.

The Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System raised concerns last week that some of their nurses has been denied renewals of a type of work visa called a TN visa. Canadian nurses help fill staff shortages in a number of crucial areas.

Marc Topoleski is an immigration lawyer who represents Henry Ford Hospital. Last week, he said that attorneys from a number of northern border states, including Michigan, had heard about cases of specialized nurses who had been denied TN visa renewal.

Now, CBP is saying that the issue has been resolved, and that nurses who were denied visas can reapply. Topolski says the agency contacted Detroit-area health systems on Friday to reassure them that nurses can still get TN visas.

Henry Ford Health System has not issued a statement yet. Topolski says they are waiting to receive written confirmation from CBP.

There are nearly 300 Canadian nurses working at Henry Ford Health System, and 30 of them are "advanced specialty" nurses.

Concerns about changes in Customs and Border Protection policy have increased since President Trump's inauguration. The president has repeatedly called for a strengthening of the borders.