Department of Homeland Security

Employers take note that a new Form I-9 has been issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The Form I-9 was released July 17 and will be effective September 17, 2017.  Meaning, all employers must use the new version of the Form I-9 no later than September 18, 2017.  As of that date, prior versions of the form will not be acceptable.

In a nutshell the revised Form I-9 will (i) update List C to reflect the most current version of the certification or report of birth issued by the Department of State; (ii) make a change to the form’s instructions to remove “the end of” when describing the day on which Form I-9 completion is required; and (iii) make a revision to the name of the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to call it by its new name, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER). To read more about the changes please click here and see bullet point #4 and click here.

To view the Federal Register announcement click here.

Any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me – montserrat.miller@agg.com.

 

On Monday, June 5 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm EST I will conduct a free webinar on “Workplace Investigations by the Department of Homeland Security – Is Your Restaurant Ready?”  The webinar is sponsored by the Georgia Restaurant Association.  Much, if not all, of what I’ll be discussing regarding employers compliance with immigration laws during the hiring process relates to all employers and isn’t limited to restaurants.  During the webinar I will discuss the following topics:

  • Factors leading to a workplace investigation by DHS – ICE
  • How to prepare for a workplace investigation by ICE
  • How to respond to a Notice of Inspection
  • What happens during an ICE audit
  • The role of the Department of Justice in workplace investigations
  • Collateral consequences of workplace investigations

Click here to register.

The wait is over!  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued an updated M-274, Handbook for Employers which provides guidance on completion of the Form I-9 and an overview of unlawful discrimination and penalties related to completion of the Form I-9.

New sections include guidance on (i) automatic extensions of employment authorization documents (EAD) in certain circumstances (page 13); (ii) failure of an employee to present acceptable documents (page 26); and (iii) correcting the Form I-9 (page 29).

Click here to view the updated M-274, Handbook for Employers.  Remember — all employers must be using the updated version of the Form I-9 as of January 22, 2017.  The form is available on USCIS’s website.

Please join me and my colleague, Teri Simmons, for a free webinar on January 24th at noon EST during which time we’ll discuss immigration compliance issues relevant to employers.  We’ll also cover what organizations can expect in 2017 under the new Administration.

Teri and I will cover topics related to the Employment Eligibility Verification form (the “Form I-9”), E-Verify, government investigations and penalties related to the Form I-9, and on-site audits when petitioning for H and L nonimmigrant status.  Click here to register and learn more about the topics we’ll address.

The webinar is pending CLE credit approval by the State Bar of Georgia.

 

If your organization has been using E-Verify for more than 10 years, this posting is for you.  If you are an E-Verify Employer Agent and your cases go back over 10 years, this posting is for you.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) must dispose of transaction records that are over 10 years old annually.  The next time they will do so is April of next year. Which means that employers and E-Verify Employer Agents with transaction records in E-Verify dated on or before December 31, 2006 must download these records from now through March 31, 2017 in order to have a record of such.

Historic Records Report Fact Sheet.

Instructions to download the Historic Records Report.

Keeping tabs on the revised Form I-9 that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is due to release, USCIS updated its website to provide important dates.  I previously wrote about the revised Form I-9 here and how it has been cleared for publication.

This week USCIS posted on its website that they must release the revised Form I-9 by November 22, 2016 and that employers may continue to use the current version of the Form I-9 until January 21, 2017.  The current version of the Form I-9 has a revision date of 03/08/2013 N.

Recap — we still don’t have the revised Form I-9 but for now and until January 21, 2017, employer should continue to use the current version of the Form I-9 available on USCIS’s website.

The current version of the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) expires today.  I’ve previously posted on my blog here on this topic.  Below notice is from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding what to do in light of this expiration date.  Presently, the revised version of the Form I-9 is the subject of a 30 day notice and comment period, following an earlier 60 day notice and comment period.  If you would like to see the “revised” Form I-9 click here .  Hopefully the revised Form I-9 will be available in May.  Note that it will still be a two page document but there are some formatting changes which USCIS hopes will make the form easier to complete.

USCIS Notice:

“Until further notice, employers should continue using Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This current version of the form continues to be effective even after the Office of Management and Budget control number expiration date of March 31, 2016, has passed. USCIS will provide updated information about the new version of Form I-9 as it becomes available. 

Employers must complete Form I-9 for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the U.S. To learn more about Form I-9 visit I-9 Central.”

 

 

In California, individuals now have a private right of action to bring a claim against an employer who uses the E-Verify program for pre-screening purposes.  They also have a private right of action if an employer does not provide them with the required notices as part of the Further Action Notice (FAN) or Tentative Notice Confirmation (TNC) process.  These are now considered unlawful employment practices under California’s Labor Code.

E-Verify is the electronic employment eligibility verification program maintained by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  It complements the Form I-9, as the employer needs to input information from the Form I-9 into the E-Verify system when creating a case to determine employment eligibility.

Currently, an employer using E-Verify cannot use the program to pre-screen employees to determine if they are employment authorized prior to hiring them. Check pages 8 and 82 of the E-Verify User Manual which states that “Pre-screening [is] the prohibited practice of creating a case in E-Verify before a job offer has been accepted.”   In addition, an employer using the E-Verify system must provide any notices generated as a result of a FAN or TNC to the individual.  To read more about employers obligation to provide E-Verify generated notices such as the TNC, read the E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding  or on USCIS’ website.

Back to California and AB-622 Employment: E-Verify system: unlawful business practices.  The law added Section 2814 to the California Labor Code.  AB-622 was signed by the Governor in October of last year.  In California, what now constitutes an unlawful employment practice has been expanded to include pre-screening of job candidates through use of the E-Verify system and not providing E-Verify generated notices specific to an individual’s E-Verify case.  This means that individuals now have a private right of action, which they can enforce in state court.  And it can result in a civil penalty up to $10,000 for each violation for the employer who is found to have engaged in an unlawful employment practice.

Bottom line — do not use the E-Verify system to pre-screen job candidates prior to hiring them and make sure you provide them with any of the notices generated by the E-Verify system, such as the TNC.