In a significant move aimed at streamlining and providing additional flexibilities to the employment verification process, the Department of Homeland Security announced a final rule granting certain employers the authority to utilize an optional alternative when examining Form I-9 documentation. The announcement follows the agency’s proposed rulemaking in August 2022 designed to explore alternative means
Employers are responsible for verifying the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. The Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) is critical to any employer’s onboarding process for new hires, but ongoing Form I-9 maintenance is equally important with respect to existing employees who need to renew their work authorization documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Some employers have faced challenges in this regard following DHS’s recent announcement of a Temporary Final Rule increasing the automatic extension period for employment authorization for certain individuals from 180 to 540 days. The rule was intended to provide additional security to both employees and employers while their renewal applications are being adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the rule also raises significant considerations for employers seeking to maintain proper Form I-9 compliance and avoid liability for past errors.Continue Reading Critical Form I-9 Compliance Risks as DHS Changes Work Authorization Rules
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new rule which permits certain noncitizen applicants to continue working without disruption while their requests for employment authorization are pending adjudication. Qualified individuals must have a pending Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and meet other criteria (timely filed, same employment category, received a Form I-797C notice) to continue working for up to 540 days from the expiration date stated on their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs or Forms I-766).
Continue Reading DHS Extends Work Permits for Approximately 18 Months, Immediately Affecting 87,000 Applicants
Federal law requires that employers attest to verifying each employee’s identity and authorization to legally work in the United States. By regulation, employees must present original, unexpired documents from the U.S. government’s published lists of acceptable documentation, which are classified as List A (Documents that Establish Both Identity and Employment Authorization), List B (Documents that Establish Identity) and List C (Documents that Establish Employment Authorization).
Continue Reading Change to Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification: List B (Documents that Establish Identity)
Updated: October 13, 2022
Federal law requires that employers must properly complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for each worker hired to perform labor or services in the United States. The form documents that the employer took steps to verify the identity and employment authorization of the worker. Normally, the employer must physically examine each document submitted by the employee to determine whether it reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the person presenting it.Continue Reading DHS Extends Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility (Effective January 1, 2022)
On November 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Policy Alert and new policy guidance addressing Employment Authorization Document (EAD) auto-extensions for H-4, E, and L spouses and to clarify that E and L dependent spouses will be considered work authorized incident to nonimmigrant status. USCIS confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take steps to modify Forms I-94 to distinguish E and L dependent spouses from E and L dependent children. Until Forms I-94 are updated, E and L spouses will continue to require an EAD (or an automatically extended EAD) as evidence of employment authorization. Under the terms of a settlement entered into on November 10, 2021, the changes to L-2 Forms I-94 will be made within 120 days.
Continue Reading USCIS Relaxes Rules for H-4, L-2, and E-2 Spouse Work Permits
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published details in the Federal Register about how it will implement the temporary “safe haven” program, also called Deferred Enforced Departure – (DED), for certain Hong Kong residents in the United States. The notice also provides instructions for employers regarding acceptable documentation to hire workers under this program.
Continue Reading U.S. Government Issues New Details of Safe Haven Program for Hong Kong Residents
Federal law requires that employers must properly complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for each worker hired to perform labor or services in the United States. The form documents that the employer took steps to verify the identity and employment authorization of the worker. Normally, the employer must physically examine each document submitted by the employee to determine whether it reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the person presenting it.
Due to safety precautions implemented to protect communities from the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance in March 2020 that employers may temporarily postpone the in-person verification requirement with a remote inspection (e.g., video, fax, email). The announcement included instructions for annotating the Form I-9 when using the flexibility rules. Recently, DHS extended this policy through December 31, 2021.
Continue Reading DHS Extends Flexibilities of Form I-9 Employment Requirements
In April 2021, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) notified the public of its intention to no longer issue Employer Correction Request Notices (“no-match letters”) to employers. SSA no-match letters advise employers that corrective action needs to be taken to resolve a discrepancy between SSA records and the information provided on one or more Forms W-2 (the wage reporting form filed by an employer with the Internal Revenue Service). Discrepancies may include, for example, typographical errors that resulted in incorrect social security numbers. But they also include intentional mismatches between an employee’s name and social security number, which may trigger an obligation by the employer to investigate whether the employee who presented the information at their time of hire was the true identity holder or had produced suspect documents.
Continue Reading Social Security Administration Again Pauses the Issuance of “No-Match” Letters
On May 26, 2021, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an extension of its remote I-9 verification policy that provides flexibility for employers conducting remote reviews of I-9 supporting documentation. This extension applies to employees hired on or after June 1, 2021, and remains in effect until…