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!

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

From:  Ned Help

To:  Carrie Counselor

Subject: It’s been great working with you!

Carrie:

I’m writing to inform you that I am being transferred to our Rio de Janeiro office next month for a twelve month assignment.  It’s a bit daunting, but I am confident that the help you have provided me in establishing policies and practices that will serve my interests and the interests of the company. Continue Reading Innocents Abroad: Employer Considerations When Sending Employees on International Assignments or Business Travel

From:  Ned Help

To:  Carrie Counselor

June 29, 2016

Carrie,

I appreciate the guidance you have provided regarding the documents the company needs to have in place when sending an employee on an assignment abroad.

Now I have a related question about immigration risks and responsibilities:  where do we draw the line between the company’s obligations and assumption of risks in these scenarios and the employees’ obligations and assumptions of risks with respect to securing and maintaining visas and work permit approvals for our employees?

Thanks for helping me think through this thorny issue.

Ned


 

Continue Reading Innocents Abroad: Creating a Company’s Global Mobility & Immigration Policy

From:               Ned Help

To:                   Carrie Counselor

Date:               June 15, 2016

Subject:           Benefit and Compensation Considerations

Carrie:

Thank you again for all your help over the past few weeks as we address our concerns with employees going abroad.  We previously talked about offer letters and employment agreements.  I know you covered some of the basic considerations regarding benefits and compensation, but I was hoping we could go into this topic in a little more depth, as we look to implement revised standards internally.

We will be sending some high level employees abroad for assignments in key geographic regions for the business and I expect to get plenty of push back on compensation packages.  I was hoping you could provide a quick overview of some key compensation considerations we should be aware of before we begin negotiations with these individuals.

Thanks,

Ned


Continue Reading Innocents Abroad: Benefit and Compensation Considerations

From:             Ned Help

To:                  Carrie Counselor

Date:               May 4, 2016

Subject:          Employment Agreements for Employees Working In High Risk Countries

Carrie:

Thanks again for your guidance over the past several weeks.  Now that we’ve tackled updating our offer letters for employees working abroad, I’d like to look at our employment agreements.  What provisions should our company consider including in employment agreements for employees who will be working in high risk countries?

Thanks,

Ned

Continue Reading Innocents Abroad: Employment Agreements for Employees Working In High Risk Countries

From:  Ned Help

To: Carrie Counselor

Date: April 5, 2016

Subject: Offer Letters for Employees Working Abroad

Ned:

As promised, I am following up on my email from last week regarding some additional resources for employees working abroad.  The offer/assignment letter is a great place to specifically outline additional resources and tools the employer will provide to the employee stationed abroad, which may include the following:

  • A Safety Hotline. Employers should provide employees a single number they can call for round-the-clock help for emergencies like immediate travel needs, passport / visa problems, and health issues. Although this is extremely effective, you might be surprised to know that only 22% of international employers provide any emergency contact information, according to Travel Weekly. There are numerous third-party vendors who can assist you with this support, or – if it makes sense business-wise – you can provide this service internally.
  • New-Arrival Transition. Companies should have another employee or appropriate company representative/liaison meet the traveling employee when they reach their destination. This person should be familiar with the area’s geography, local currency, and customs and should  remain in the area for at least one week while the employee gets settled.  If providing Company-sponsored internal support is impractical, we suggest partnering with a local relocation specialist, who can provide concierege-level support based on your internal needs.
  • A Domestic Manager. Companies should have a single point of contact for employees who have non-emergency questions or who have typical employment-related grievances that would domestically be addressed by Human Resources. To the extent possible, this contact should be the same throughout the course of the assignment to provide the employee with continuity and consistency.
  • Consular Monitoring Programs. Make it mandatory for all employees traveling internationally or stationed abroad to register with the local embassy or consulate of their home country.  For US citizens, for example, this can be accomplished through the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  Through this program, a periodic business traveler can register individual trips with the consular post, and frequent business travelers and short/long term transferees can create individual profiles, or a group profile if employees are traveling as a team. The benefits of enrolling in STEP include the following :
  • Receiving important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in the country of destination, and helping the traveler make informed decisions about his or her travel plans.
  • Enabling the U.S. Embassy to contact the registered traveler in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
  • Helping family and friends get in touch with the traveler in an emergency.

Remember,  it is ultimately the employee who is risking their life traveling abroad. Not only should the offer letter empower the employee with information useful in determining whether to accept a job, but employers should vest employees – in writing – with the ability to use their own judgement regarding safety. If a meeting location or time is suspicious or of concern, the employee abroad should have final say about last-minute cancellations. Transparency and empowerment can help employees abroad navigate and confidently handle acts of terrorism, petty crime, and – most common – natural disasters like earthquakes, power outages, and floods.

If you have any questions about any of the above or if you wish to discuss the various employment, immigration and corporate structure issues that surround stationing employees overseas, feel free to call or email at any time.

Sincerely,

Carrie Counselor

From: Ned Help

To: Carrie Counselor

Subject: Offer Letters for Employees Working Abroad

Carrie:

Although I’ve been writing offer and assignment letters for more than 15 years, I’m curious as to what are today’s best practices for preparing these documents as our company extends its global reach.  Specifically, what are the critical components these letters need to address for employees who will be working abroad in places like Latin America, Northern Africa, and the Middle East?  Continue Reading Innocents Abroad: Sending Employees Into Harm’s Way – A Word About Offer Letters