Immigration and Firm News

The Trump Administration has been very, very busy addressing business immigration in the last year. Three overriding themes are: 1) a slowdown in processing times in most categories and 2) increased Requests for Evidence (RFEs) in just about every immigration category and 3) a tightening of definitions by adjudication or policy memo.  Receiving an RFE doesn't necessarily mean a case will be denied, but there are more denials out there. Despite all the talk about needing "merit based" … [Read more...]

Together with my colleague, business attorney Dirk Bartram of HenkeBartram PLLC, we will be hosting a webinar on October 5, 2016 at 10:30 am PST about employer I-9 obligations, potential penalties, audits and more.  The webinar is free. Register here. We will discuss workplace compliance issues around: Paperwork requirements (Form I-9), violations and penalties "Knowingly hiring unauthorized worker" violations and penalties E-Verify and IMAGE - whether to use or … [Read more...]

USCIS has released a new website page called "MyE-Verify" where employees can check their database records to verify work authorization. MyE-Verify is presently available in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.  This should be useful for all job seekers when looking for work, as more employers use E-Verify to document the work permission of their new hires.  The website includes the ability to do Self-checks, which includes instructions on what to do if … [Read more...]

Many employers are considering whether to voluntarily sign up for E-Verify, the government's electronic database to verify employment authorization and Social Security numbers. Use of E-Verify is voluntary for most employers but not for those residing in states or counties where it is mandatory. It is also mandatory for certain federal contractors, those employers wanting to hire STEM graduates for the longer Optional Practical Training period, and for some employers where E-Verify is mandatory … [Read more...]

USCIS has released some new instructional videos to help employers and their employees properly complete Form I-9s at time of hire. Since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), it has been the law every employer must document on Form I-9 the work permission status of employees hired since November 6, 1986. The law applies to the hiring of US citizens as well. Employers are subject to audit (Notices of Intent to Inspect) that can result in fines for failure to … [Read more...]

I previously wrote about the new I-9 form published by USCIS on March 8. The Handbook for Employers, or M-274, has also been updated. The biggest changes are the additional and expanded pictures of the various documents employers are likely to encounter. However, there are also a number of minor changes that can raise a number of questions by employers as to the appropriate documents that are acceptable or raise questions about the details in completing the I-9s. Today, I attended a … [Read more...]

Today, USCIS published a notice of revised I-9 form in the Federal Register. USCIS states: "Although employers should begin using the 03/08/13 dated form right away, older forms dated 02/02/09 and 08/07/09 will be accepted until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, only the 03/08/13 will be accepted. The revision date is on the lower left corner of the form." USCIS has also scheduled free webinars to help employers understand the new form. Primary changes to the new form include more thorough … [Read more...]

It's been 27 years since Congress passed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) requiring employers to document the work permission status of ALL new hires, including US citizens, on Form I-9. After all those years, employers still contact our office wanting to hire, or continue employing undocumented workers, or they simply want to "help" an employee who they don't realize lacks permission to work. Many employers sound clueless about IRCA requirements, even when there is so much … [Read more...]

An article in the Wall Street Journal and another in Packer News report that "in an email" to an unknown source, Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) said it will issue I-9 audit notices to over a 1000 employers as part of its national strategy to get more employers to stop hiring workers without legal employment status. Notices to Inspect will be issued across industries. This should come as no surprise to employers. In my post last month, ICE to Establish I-9 Center and Increase Audits, I … [Read more...]

A Wall Street Journal article, Crackdown on Illegal Workers Grows, reports that Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) will open a new "Employment Compliance Inspection Center" to handle an increase in I-9 audits of employers of all sizes, including large, major employers. Under the Bush administration, ICE focused on rounding up undocumented workers through surprise raids. By contrast, the Obama administration is conducting stealth, "silent" audits of employer documents. Where false … [Read more...]