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  Finance | Financial advice | Immigration | Special Needs | Accounting | Business | Labor Law | Asset Protection

IMMIGRATION

IMMIGRATION REVISES EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION


Gail S. Seeram
By GAIL S. SEERAM

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in early November that revisions have been made to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which is required to be submitted by employers for each employee hired in the United States.

The purpose of Form I-9 is to confirm the identity and work eligibility for employees. Employers are encouraged to start using the revised Form I-9 immediately.

The main revision to Form I-9 is the removal of five documents for proof of both identity and employment eligibility. They include: Certificate of U.S. Citizenship; Certificate of Naturalization; Alien Registration Receipt Card; the unexpired Reentry Permit; and the unexpired Refugee Travel Document. These documents were removed because they lack features to help deter counterfeiting, tampering and fraud.

The revised list of acceptable documents now includes: a U.S. passport (unexpired or expired); a Permanent Resident Card; an unexpired foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp; an unexpired Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph; and an unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94) for nonimmigrant aliens authorized to work for a specific employer.

Unlike tax forms, Form I-9 is not filed with the U.S. government. The requirement is for employers to maintain Form I-9 records in its own files for three years after the date of hire or a year after the date the employee's employment is terminated, whichever is later. This means that Form I-9 need to be retained for all current employees, as well as terminated employees whose records remain within the retention period.

Q: Where can I get the new Form I-9 and the Employer Handbook?

A: Both Form I-9 and the Employer Handbook are available as downloadable PDFs at www.uscis.gov. Employers without computer access can order USCIS forms by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-870-3676.

Q: Can I accept documents that used to be on Form I-9 but aren’t now?

A: No. Employers may only accept documents listed on the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9. When re-verifying employees, employers should ensure that they use the new Form I-9 with its updated list of acceptable documents.

Q: Are there any changes in the way the new Form I-9 is completed?

A: No. The updated form should be completed exactly the same way as the old one was. The only difference is the types of documents that employers may accept in Section 2.

Q: May I continue to use earlier versions of Form I-9?

A: No. Employers must use the 2007 edition of Form I-9, approved on June 5, 2007. All previous versions of Form I-9 in English and Spanish are no longer valid.

Q: Do I need to complete the 2007 Form I-9 for all my employees or just the new ones?

A: Employers only need to complete the 2007 Form I-9 for new employees. Employers do not need to complete new forms for existing employees. However, employers must use the 2007 Form I-9 when their employees require re-verification.

Gail S. Seeram, an immigration attorney, handles cases involving family petitions, business/investors visas, citizenship, deportation, asylum, work authorization, and extension of status. Call her office toll free at 1-877-GAIL-LAW (1-877-424-5529), send an email at gailseeram@lawyer.com or visit her Web site at www.go2lawyer.com.



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