The USCIS recently issued a revised version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form. This form must be used beginning on September 18, 2017. All existing storage and retention rules for Form I-9 must continue to be followed. As you know, employers use the Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. In this latest revision, the USCIS modified the List of Acceptable Documents to include adding to List C the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240), combined all certifications of report of birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (Forms, FS-545, DS-1350 and FS-240) into List C, and renumbered all List C documents except the Social Security Card. Additionally, the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices was changed to its new name of Immigrant and Employee Rights Section and removed "the end of" from the phrase "the first day or employment." Please contact your HLG attorney if you have any questions about the new form, how to do an internal audit, E-Verify or with any other immigration or employment verification questions.
On August 7, 2017, the Ninth Circuit upheld charges against DLS Precision Fab LLC, a now bankrupt sheet metal company, which resulted in $305,000 in penalties for employing unauthorized immigrants. In this decision the court rejecting the company’s arguments that a rogue HR director was to blame. DLS was found to have failed to comply with the INA’s worker verification requirements and employed more than a dozen individuals known to be ineligible to work in the U.S. DLS attributed its failure to properly vet employees on a rogue HR director who, unbeknownst to it, shirked compliance to the point “of literally stuffing the government’s correspondence in a drawer and never responding.” The Court was not persuaded by this argument. The bulk of the charges stem from I-9 violations. I-9 violations are not merely violations when filed but remain continuing violations until DLS is no longer required by law to retain them (three years from the date of hire or one year after termination). As for retaining eligible employees, the clock starts upon termination. DLS was therefore not able to use the statute of limitations as a defense. While these appear to be a pretty blatant violations, it is still a good reminder that properly vetting your employees and maintaining your I-9 records is very important.
The USCIS has announced that it will now begin issuing employment authorization documents and advance parole documents on a single card for certain I-485 applicants. The card looks similar to the current employment authorization document (EAD) but includes a text that reads, "Serves as I-512 Advance Parole". Employers may accept the new card as a List A document when completing the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. To receive the single card, an applicant must file for EAD and Advance Parole at the same time. An applicant, who already has an EAD and AP, can apply for the single card only if: (1) the current EAD has less than 120 days validity left; and (2) the Advance Parole has less than 120 days validity date or is for a single entry. Generally the single card will be valid for one or two years, depending upon the availability of an immigrant visa although USCIS retains the discretion to issue it for a shorter period or a longer period depending upon the circumstances of the particular case.