Follow Us:

Posts Tagged ‘EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY’

New I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form, Effective Sept. 18, 2017

Monday, July 17th, 2017

I-9+Website+High+res+Logo_x625[1]USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on July 17. Instructions for how to download Form I-9 are available on the Form I-9 page. On Sept. 18th, employers must use the revised form with a revision date of 07/17/17N. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9s.

Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions:

  • USCIS changed the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • They removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment.”

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:

  • Added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Sections 2 and 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.
  • Combined all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) into selection C #2 in List C.
  • Renumbered all List C documents except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C changed from List C #8 to List C #7.

USCIS included these changes in the revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274), which is also easier for users to navigate.

Should you have any questions or would like to discuss how your company can establish a culture of compliance, please contact us at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com

California New AB 60 Driver’s License: Is it Good for Employment Eligibility?

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

SSCard_iStock_000008528169_ExtraSmall (2)Since early 2015, qualified California residents have been able to apply for and receive a driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles without proving that their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.  All employers must accept the AB 60 driver’s license as a Form I-9 List B Identity document if the license reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the individual.  As with all permissible List B driver’s licenses, the AB 60 driver’s license must contain either a photograph or list the individual’s name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address. The AB 60 driver’s license only documents the employee’s identity; California employers must still examine a List C document that establishes employment authorization, such as a Social Security card or birth certificate.

 

View the Example of the AB-CA Driver’s License annotated with “Federal Benefits Apply”.

 

U.S. Immigration Laws: Protecting The Boundaries of Freedom or a Legal Minefield?

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

By Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

Immigration law has infiltrated the daily lives of businesses across the country. It headlines the financial news, generates heated political debates and imposes heavy financial penalties to those who violate it. But do U.S. Immigration policies protect our freedoms and promote social welfare?

U.S. Businesses are charged with the responsibility of screening and reporting unauthorized employees or potential employees to the government. This strict duty is often hidden under the guise of “partnership” programs like IMAGE, which allow the government to control private businesses’ hiring and employee training practices.  IMAGE publicizes:

By voluntarily participating in the IMAGE program, companies can reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents. As part of IMAGE, ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide education and training on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection and use of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program.  Members will also learn about the importance of avoiding discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision § 274B.8 U.S.C. § 1324b.

As de facto immigration enforcement officers, businesses bear the financial burden of our broken immigration policy. U.S. companies must either invest in pre-audit immigration compliance or pay the financial costs of non-compliance through penalties and civil litigation (see, our blog on citizenship discrimination). This lose-lose situation fosters distrust in the law and encourages business emigration. Popular media has documented the “Brain Drain,” of America exposing a sad truth that Canada reaps the benefits of our broken immigration policies. The reality is the “Brain Drain” is caused by the reduction of H1-B visa caps (65,000 annually) over the past decade as well as the exclusion of doctoral graduates in STEM fields, attracting Ph.D.s, to immigrant friendly countries like Canada.

The Wall Street Journal and CNN have recently placed a spotlight on this economically paralyzing phenomenon. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (NYC) believes that immigration laws should be wield as economic tools, not burdens. In a recent interview with National Public Radio (NPR) Bloomberg said:

“‘There’s no reason why you have to have a common immigration policy for all of America,’ he argued. ‘You could let each state do it differently.

“‘I would argue the federal government should go one step further. They should deliberately force some places that don’t want immigrants to take them, because that’s the only solution for these big, hollowed-out cities where industry has left and is never going to come back unless you get some people to move there.'”

In addition to Bloomberg’s idea of building up a stronger immigrant workforce, localized immigration laws may solve the labor shortages decimating both the agriculture and construction companies. But until any significant steps toward state regulated immigration policy reform are made, businesses are justified in their distrust (even disdain) of current immigration laws. While politicians and the Supreme Court decide the fate of this debate, businesses would be well advised to seek professional experts to navigate the myriad of laws and compliance issues they face, and signup for our news to stay informed.

For more information contact one of our immigration professionals at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com or call 562 612.3996.

 

One Mission: Preventing Citizenship Discrimination, The OSC | I-9/E-Verify News

Friday, June 8th, 2012

By:  Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

After the Department of Justice and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) publicized the current charges against the Tuscany Suites and Casino in Las Vegas, I consulted a staff attorney at the OSC to inquire how prudent businesses can avoid citizenship discrimination litigation altogether. The answer, as you might imagine, focused on prevention.

The OSC is charged with prosecuting unlawful employment practices of discrimination related to immigration based upon citizenship status, nationality, and the appearance of “foreignness.” Labor laws protect both U.S. Citizens and Non-Citizen workers. OSC investigators receive leads from employee victims of discrimination or through their tip hotline. Additionally, the OSC fields general questions and assists businesses with developing fair labor practices.

After the OSC investigates alleged discriminatory practices, if there is reasonable cause to believe a violation has occurred, charges will be filed against an employer. Employers should seek legal professional assistance to develop hiring practices that prevent discrimination and foreclose on any discretionary hiring methods that constitute “reasonable cause to believe a violation has occurred,” such as

  1. Selectively requesting additional documents from applicants who appear foreign
  2. Exceeding Form I-9 identification instructions
  3. Improper inquiry into employee’s visa status

Moreover, an injured party may bring an additional civil action against the employer. While the nature and severity of the charges will determine the weight of penalties the OSC will charge an employer, pre-trial settlement can be accomplished by satisfying claims through:

  1. Issuing Back Pay
  2. Reinstatement of discharged employee
  3. Hiring employees
  4. Injunctions
  5. Training management and staff
  6. Monitoring labor law compliance
  7. Paying Fines for discriminatory practices

The OSC is adamant that they run a transparent agency, utilizing their website to issue press releases regarding claim settlements. Case resolution is available to the public and is a good indicator of the severity of fines associated with discriminatory practices.

A settlement in May between the OSC and Imagine Schools, posted online fined the school:

  • $600 civil penalty to the U.S. Department of Treasury
  • $20,169 in back pay to the employee with interest and fees
  • Mandatory employee training over the next 18 months
  • Ongoing access to company records by the agency to monitor future compliance

Because the OSC has a wealth of resources dedicated to the single mission of preventing discrimination related to citizenship status, employers must eradicate discriminatory hiring practices to avoid penalties and fees. Our office has a wealth of experience in developing industry specific best practices to help your company prevent workplace discrimination. To protect your business and your employees please contact one of our immigration professionals at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com or call 562 612.3996.

 

 

 

Undocumented Workers, AB1544: California Agricultural Jobs and Industry Stabilization Program

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

By:  Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor    

Pro-Business AB1544, introduced by California Congressmen Manuel Perez (D-Coachella), has managed to survive numerous congressional committees. The bill if approved requires the Employment Development Department (EDD) to certify that there are not enough legal residents of California to fill all open agricultural and service industry jobs in the state. This bill authorizes the EDD to issue permits to undocumented workers to work in the agricultural and service industries. Additionally, the EDD may issue permits to workers’ immediate family members under the program. Fees applicants pay to the program will fund the program’s salaries and overhead.  In conjunction with the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the EDD must publish an annual report analyzing whether the program displaces legal residents of California in the agricultural and service industries.

This bill would provide a viable solution to illegal worker issues facing numerous industries: agriculture, domestic services, janitorial or building maintenance services, food preparation services, and housekeeping services. Although companies will still be subject to I-9 audits, a substantial percentage of their workforce will be able to obtain temporary legal employment status.

Opponents of AB1544 cite the high unemployment rate in California and the struggling economy as reasons to protect Americans from issuing these foreign worker permits. Ira Mehlman of the Federation for Immigration Reform opposes AB1544 saying, “It makes very little sense for the Legislature to be passing laws allowing illegal aliens to take jobs in California when there’s so many Californians who are out of work right now.”

The detrimental affects of the Obama administration crack-down on form I-9 compliance on the agriculture industries of Kansas and Alabama was documented earlier on our blog, here. For agriculture, janitorial services, and numerous other industries, the cost to businesses if AB1544 does not pass may total in the millions. To stay informed about AB1544 and the latest immigration news and updates subscribe to our blog and immigration and I-9 newsletters here.

For additional resources, please take a look at our Employer Resource Center

SEC & ICE Tag-Team Chipotle Mexican Grill | Immigration Compliance Group News

Monday, May 21st, 2012

By:  Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

Since February of 2011, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, have been conducting investigations into Chipotle Mexican Grill’s compliance with employee work authorization laws and regulations. On May 17, 2012, Chipotle received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, requesting information regarding compliance with employee work authorization requirements, related public statements and other disclosures.

Failing their initial ICE audit exposed Chipotle to the SEC violations under investigation. Even though a year has passed since the company released immigration compliance disclosures to their investors, the current SEC investigation may lead to further fines and federal litigation. In February of 2011, the company filed a Form 8-K with the SEC stating,

Our business could be adversely affected by increased labor costs or difficulties in finding the right employees for our restaurants.” Unauthorized workers are subject to deportation and may subject us to fines or penalties, and if any of our workers are found to be unauthorized our business may be disrupted as we try to replace lost workers with additional qualified employees. We could also experience adverse publicity arising from immigration-related enforcement activity that negatively impacts our brand and may make it more difficult to hire and keep qualified employees.”

The current SEC investigation has reopened the wound left by the ICE audits Chipotle endured over the past two years.  Following the ICE raids of 2010, Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota were issued a Notice of Suspect Documents identifying a large number of employees who appeared not to be authorized to work in the U.S. Employees who were unable to provide valid work eligibility documents were terminated. In December 2010, DHS requested work authorization documents for employees in the District of Columbia and Virginia. At that time, Chipotle filed a statement with the SEC in a Form 10-K stating:

“We believe our practices with regard to the work authorization of our employees, including the review and retention of work authorization documents, are in compliance with applicable law. However, the termination of large numbers of employees does disrupt our operations and results in a temporary increase in labor costs as we train new employees. It is not possible at this time to determine whether we will incur any fines, penalties or further liabilities in connection with these matters.”

The Department of Homeland Security, ICE, and the SEC’s investigation of Chiptole, sends a strong message to American employers that the U.S. government is relentless in its efforts to penalize employers of illegal aliens. ICE audits open the door to immigration, tax, and labor investigations that can cost employers (companies of all sizes – both private and public) millions in fines. In particular, this is a strong message to publicly held corporations that you must  take care now more than ever to ensure workforce compliance to avoid falling victim to an SEC probe.

As the mountain of immigration compliance trouble casts a shadow over Chipotle’s recent financial successes, further fines, penalties and liabilities levied by the SEC are sure to follow. For more updates on this matter subscribe to our RSS feed and for more information on how to avoid ICE audits and SEC investigations contact one of our immigration professionals at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com or call 562 612.3996.

 

ICE I-9 Audits: With 3,000 Audits Expected this Year – What’s an Employer to do?

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Please see our attached brochure and contact our office to discuss your compliance needs.  Our talented staff can walk you through our customized services and solutions.

 

10 Steps to take to Avoid Immigration-related Employment Discrimination

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

1. Treat all people the same when announcing a job, taking applications, interviewing, offering a job, verifying eligibility to work,  and in hiring and firing.

2. Accept documentation presented by an employee if it establishes identity and employment eligibility; is included in the list of acceptable documents; and reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the person.

3. Accept documents that appear to be genuine. You are not expected to be a document expert, and establishing the authenticity of a document is not your responsibility.

4. Avoid “citizen-only” or “permanent resident-only” hiring policies unless required by law, regulation or government contract. In most cases, it is illegal to require job applicants to be U.S. citizens or have a particular immigration status.

5. Give out the same job information over the telephone to all callers, and use the same application form for all applicants.

6. Base all decisions about firing on job performance and/or behavior, not on the appearance, accent, name, or citizenship status of your employees.

7. Complete the I-9 Form and keep it on file for at least 3 years from the date of employment or for 1 year after the employee leaves the job, whichever is later. This means that you must keep I-9s on file for all current employees. You must also make the forms available to government inspectors upon request.

8. On the I-9 Form, verify that you have seen documents establishing identity and work authorization for all employees hired after November 6, 1986, including U.S. citizens.

9. Remember that many work authorization documents (I-9 Form lists A and C) must be renewed. On the expiration date, you must reverify employment authorization and record the new evidence of continued work authorization on the I-9 Form. You must accept any valid document your employee chooses to present, whether or not it is the same document provided initially. Individuals may present an unrestricted Social Security card to establish continuing employment eligibility.

Note:
• Permanent resident cards should not be reverified
• Identity documents should not be reverified

10. Be aware that U.S. citizenship, or nationality,belongs not only to persons born in the United States but also to all individuals born to a U.S. citizen, and those born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Swains Island. Citizenship is granted to legal immigrants after they complete the naturalization process.

Please feel free to contact our office to discuss any compliance questions that you might have.

Resources:

Employer Resource Center

Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices

OSC:  FAQs

Types of Immigration related Unfair Employment Practices Discrimination

I-9 Best Practice Audit Recommendations from OSC

Monday, January 30th, 2012

This brochure outlines some excellent Do’s and Don’ts pertaining to how to interact with employees during an ICE audit; however, these suggestions additionally apply to all audit situations such as outside 3rd party audits by attorneys or compliance experts, as well as internal self-audits.

It is recommended that you have an established procedure for interacting with employees whose I-9 forms require correcting; i.e, how to inform them that you are seeking information from them, what to communicate to them, and how much time to allow them to respond.

Should you wish to discuss the particulars of your compliance program, please feel to contact our office for more information.

::::::::::::::::::

Leslie Davis is the Managing Director of Immigration Compliance Group and is an expert in employer compliance matters.  The firm also specializes in US and Canadian business immigration.

E-Verify Requirements for 5 States as of January 1, 2012

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Five states as of January 1, 2012 require certain employers to use the E-Verify system for employment eligibility verification of newly hired employees.  They are as follows:

Alabama: State contractors are required to e-verify new employees.  Commencing April 1, 2012, all Alabama employers will b e required to use E-Verify.  Business licenses can be suspended up to 60 days for a first violation and permanently revoked for a second violation.

Georgia:  All private employers with 500 employees or more must use E-Verify as of 01/01/2012 for all new hires.  This will expand to on July 1, 2012 for employers with 100-499 employees, and for employers with 11-99 employees as of July 1, 2013.  Contractors can be barred from bidding on public contracts for 12 months for violations. Public employers must submit annual compliance reports.

Louisiana:  All private employers seeking public contracts to provide services to a state or local public entity will be required to attest that they will use E-Verify for their new hires in Louisiana as of January 1, 2012 during the term of the contract, and the same for their subcontractors.  Penalties for violations include: up to $500 fine per worker for a first offense, up to $1,000 for a second and up to $2,500 for a third offense. After the third offense the business license can also be suspended for a minimum of 30 days and no more than 6 months. Employers using E-Verify are presumed to be in good faith and not subject to penalties.

South Carolina: All employers are required to participate in E-Verify as of 01/01/2012.  Presently, employers have had the option to hire only employees that possess or qualify for a South Carolina driver’s license (or other state license with similar strict requirements) instead of using E-Verify, but that option will expire as of 01/01/2012.

Tennessee: All private employers with 500 or more employees must either use E-Verify, or obtain and copy specified documentation of lawful status for all new hires as of January 1, 2012.  those with 200 to 499 employees on or after July 1, 2012; those with 6 to 199 employees, on or after January 1, 2013. Employers with less than 6 employees will not have to use E-verify.

For current information on state E-Verify requirements, we link here

Should you have  any questions pertaining to state E-Verify requirements, please contact our office at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com or call 562 612.3996.