As previously indicated in our firm’s Immigration Update dated November 12, 2007, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an amended Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification form) that removes five of the List A documents, modifies/clarifies other List A documents and instructs employees that providing their social security number in Section 1 of the Form is optional, unless the employer participates in the E-Verify system. Employers are required to use the Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. When the USCIS released the new Form on November 7, 2007, it stated that the new form is the only version that is valid for use. However, subsequent to the release of the new form, the USCIS has released an additional notice confirming that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not seek penalties against an employer for using a previous version of the Form I-9 on or before December 26, 2007. However, the USCIS in the notice stated that employers that fail to use the new Form I-9 after December 26, 2007 may be subject to penalties as enforced by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The USCIS confirmed that employers should not need to complete the new Form I-9 for current employees because there should already be a properly completed Form I-9 on file. However, the USCIS did state that employers must use the new Form I-9 for any reverification of employment authorization conducted on or after December 26, 2007. The USCIS reminded employers reverification is required when the Form I-9 indicates that the employee’s work authorization will expire. Employers are not required to reverify expiring documents for U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

The USCIS has created a special link on its website at www.uscis.gov/i-9 which contains the new Form I-9. This link also contains the revised “Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9 (“M-274”).” This revised handbook is available in the upper right hand corner of this website. The handbook contains an updated FAQ section and updated sample documents which may be presented by employees in the I-9 process.

Finally, our firm’s Immigration Group and Employment Labor Group are conducting audits of company’s Form I- 9 forms and procedures. Both groups are also currently conducting Form I-9 training for companies