On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published another revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. It will be mandatory for employers to use this new version of the form commencing September 18, 2017. Until September 18, employers may use either the new version I-9 with a revision date of 07/17/17 or the prior edition, which has a revision date of 11/14/16.

Although there are no revisions to the fillable portions of the form, there are changes to the Instructions to Form I-9 and the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9, specifically:

  • The I-9 Instructions reflect the name change of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • The new form removes “the end of” from the phrase “the end of the first day of employment” in the instructions part for completion of Section 1.
  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) was added as a List C acceptable document. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Sections 2 and 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.
  • In addition, the List of Acceptable Documents combines all of the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) into selection C #2 in List C (instead of being listed separately as #2 for Form FS-545 and #3 for Form DS-1350 on the prior version of the list).
  • Due to the above changes, please note that items were renumbered. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C changed from List C #8 to List C #7. The SSN card remained the same number as it continues to be the first item on List C.

Moreover, all of these changes were also made in the revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274). Thus, a new edition of the Handbook is available and it promises to be easier for users to navigate.

To see USCIS’s news release regarding its Form I-9 update, please visit its website. Mintz Levin’s attorneys stand ready to assist our clients with any questions regarding the new Form I-9

On Wednesday, May 24, our very own Kevin McNamara, Jen Rubin, and Bill Coffman will lead a live seminar in our San Diego office designed for in-house counsel, immigration specialists, HR professionals, talent managers, and other internal stakeholders to review changes affecting the hiring and continued employment of foreign nationals and provide guidance for compliance in an era of increased enforcement. Topics will include:

  • Worksite visit preparation, including recordkeeping requirements
  • New, highly-skilled worker regulations and how they help you and your employees
  • Immigration consequences of hiring, terminations, and mergers & acquisitions
  • I-9, E-Verify, and H-1B compliance

Similar seminars in Boston and New York received great reviews. Don’t miss out! For additional details and to register, click here or contact Cassie Bent at CMBent@mintz.com.

Following our recent seminars on what to expect in the world of immigration law and compliance in 2017, we invite you to delve deeper into I-9 compliance, E-Verify compliance, and employment-based immigration compliance. During this three-part webinar series, we will aim to arm employers with best practices and tools regarding compliance in key areas of immigration law.

  • Part I: I-9 Compliance and Best Practices — Monday, May 8, 2017
  • Part II: E-Verify Compliance and Best Practices — Tuesday, May 30, 2017
  • Part III: Wages, Recordkeeping, and Job Changes – Compliance in Employment-Based Immigration — Thursday, June 22, 2017

Click here to register for ALL or ANY combination of these informative webinars today!

Update –  NEW BOSTON EVENT DATE: Due to safety concerns surrounding the recent snow storm, Mintz Levin rescheduled the Boston Immigration Seminar to Thursday, March 2. To register, please click here or see below. We hope you can join us!

On February 9th (Boston) and February 16th (New York), our very own Kevin McNamaraSusan Cohen, and Bill Coffman will lead a live seminar designed for in-house counsel, immigration specialists, HR professionals, talent managers, and other internal stakeholders to review changes affecting the hiring and continued employment of foreign nationals. Topics will include:

  • Worksite visit preparation
  • Record-keeping requirements
  • The new Form I-9 and the importance of E-Verify compliance
  • How to prepare for increased scrutiny at a US port of entry
  • New high-skilled worker regulations
  • Strategies and alternatives for H-1B visa cap and prospects for FY 2018

Don’t miss this important event.  For additional details and registration, please contact Cassie Bent at CMBent@mintz.com!

As a result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, higher immigration fines and penalties will go into effect on August 1, 2016.   The fines and penalties cover Form I-9 paperwork violations, the unlawful employment of immigrant workers, certain temporary work visa programs, and immigration-related discrimination in hiring and employment. While these fines come into effect on August 1, they will be used for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, the day the bill was signed into law.

Continue Reading Higher Immigration Penalties for I-9 and Other Violations Going Into Effect August 1, 2016

On July 8, 2015, the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO), issued a decision finding Hartmann Studios, Inc. “liable for 808 violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(a)(1)(B)”, namely hiring workers in the United States without properly examining and documenting the employees’ identity and immigration documents. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) argued that Hartmann engaged in 818 violations; requesting $812,665.25 in civil penalties.

Many employers don’t realize the importance of the I-9, or Employment Eligibility Verification form, which has been required since 1986 as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Since the I-9 form was revised in 2013, I-9 scrutiny has been on the rise and employers need to prioritize compliance by having a complete understanding of the requirements and following them to the letter of the law. Depending on the type of I-9 violation and the number of offenses, penalties can range from $110 per violation to $16,000 per violation and six months in prison.

In the Hartmann case, Judge Ellen K. Thomas found that “employment verification procedures are sufficiently defective to foreclose a claim of either good faith or substantial compliance”. In a small consolation for the company, Judge Thomas determined some of the violations were not as grievous as argued by ICE,  and downgraded the financial penalty. Hartmann was fined $605,250.

As a follow-up to our Alerts of March 8, 2013 and May 6, 2013, this is a reminder that the revised Form I-9 must now be used by all U.S. employers for new hires. The new form went into effect May 7, 2013. The new Form I-9 may be found at http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central. Mintz Levin’s most recent alert is at:

http://www.mintz.com/newsletter/2013/Advisories/2982-0513-NAT-IMM/index.html

Please contact an attorney with Mintz Levin’s Immigration Department if you have questions about this form.

Mintz Levin is presenting a webinar on Tuesday, April 9th to discuss the information you need to implement the new Form I-9. US Citizenship and Immigration Services published a new version of Form I-9 on March 8, 2013 along with revisions to its M-274: Handbook for Employers. This new Form I-9 must be used by all US employers starting on May 7, 2013. It is a longer form and includes expanded instructions.

To register, click here.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today published a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  All employers in the U.S. are required to complete Form I-9 on behalf of every employee hired in the U.S. The new Form I-9 may be found at http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central.

The revised Form I-9 is designed to minimize errors in completion through reformatting, clearer instructions, and the addition of new data fields, including the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable), telephone number, and email addresses. Regulations concerning acceptable documentation, form retention, and employer sanctions have not changed.

Continue Reading USCIS Revises Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form)

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Laura Murphy and Fred Smith of the ACLU and Competitive Enterprise Institute, respectively, warned against the dangers of a mandatory E-Verify system.  They argued that the E-Verify system invades the privacy of the employees whose data is run through the system and that the E-Verify verification process effectively lumps everyone into the category of “illegal” until proven otherwise (“guilty” until proven “innocent”).  They also are fearful that E-Verify could soon be used for a variety of other non-work related purposes.

I disagree with their conclusions.  And I think it is unrealistic to secure comprehensive immigration reform without some type of mandatory employment verification system. Continue Reading Mandatory E-Verify: Not Too High a Price for Necessary Immigration Reform