Immigration Changes: Are You Ready?

immigration changes
Employers are required to use the new version of the Form I-9 (dated 07/17/17) beginning Sept. 18, 2017.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) first published the form I-9 in July. It has an expiration date of Aug. 31, 2019. It applies to new hires only. Employers are not required to complete new forms for current employees. Current storage and retention rules have not changed.

“The new version brings very subtle changes to the form’s instructions and [adds to] the list of acceptable documents,” said Davis Bae, managing partner of the Seattle office of law firm Fisher Phillips. “Besides changing the wording on the form in almost imperceptible ways, the new version renumbers all List C documents except the Social Security card and streamlines the certification process for certain foreign nationals.” (excerpt from #SHRM)

The revisions to the form I-9 are confined to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) List of Acceptable Documents. The list specifically updates List C to reflect the most current version of the certification or report of birth issued by the U.S. State Department.

Employers completing the Form I-9 on a computer can now select the newly added Consular Report of Birth Abroad Form FS-240. This is issued to certain individuals born overseas to a U.S. citizen. E-Verify users are able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for employment eligibility verification. The FS-240 has actually been in use for a long time, and so this change should help some employers that were previously told it was not acceptable.

Birth certificates issued by the State Department (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350 and Form FS-240) are now compiled into selection C#2 in List C.

The new form also modifies the form’s instructions by removing “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment” in reference to completing Section 1. Even though the agency did not specify the reason for this change, it was likely made to ensure consistency with the regulations which indicate that Section 1 must be completed ‘at the time of hire,’ without any reference to the time of day. Due to this updated guidance, employers may want to revisit their own I-9 policies and procedures. We can help you with this at #DubeConsulting. Many people assume they have three (3) days to complete this form, but now we advise you complete it on “the first day of employment,” Nancy Dube said.

The last change is a revision of the name of the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.

A new 15-pages of instructions and I-9 form are available Employers should update their Employee Handbooks.

Although the changes to the Form I-9 are minimal, failure to use the new form can result in significant fines.

Every change to the Form I-9, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, can have an impact on an employer’s ability to stay in compliance with the law.

One of the biggest obstacles is just making your organization aware that a new version exists, particularly for those employers who are still completing the I-9 on paper.

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