Handbook for Employers – Updates
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated their Handbook for Employers, effective 1/5/11. The handbook is designed to be used by those within an organization who have the responsibility for maintaining the I-9 records. Interested employers and their representatives may download the updated version at the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/files/form/m-274.pdf.
The new edition of the Handbook for Employers provides critical revisions to the prior version of the handbook. Some of the key updates include:
- States that the employer should not begin the I-9 verification process until the individual has accepted a job offer.
- Confirms that the three business days that the employer has to complete Section 2 of the Form I-9, does not include the day of hire.
- Adds extended information of “special” hiring categories: Lawful Permanent Residents, Refugees and Asylees, Temporary Protected Status, Exchange Visitors, Students, H-1B, H-2A Agricultural Workers, and automatic extensions of nonimmigrant status.
- Discusses how to handle employee name changes.
- Provides guidance on interruptions in employment, such as leaves, layoffs and mergers.
- Includes a new chart for calculating I-9 retention periods.
- Reviews electronic I-9 system requirements.
- Adds two new paragraphs mentioning the requirement that certain federal contractors use E-Verify.
- Notes at various points in special E-Verify adaptations, i.e. reminds E-Verify employers that they can only accept List B documents that have a photograph and information regarding name changes.
- Expands the “FAQ” section, providing guidance on such items as name discrepancies and how to make name changes on the Form I-9.
- Updates samples of relevant documents, such as adding the new Permanent Resident Card, aka “green card.”
As the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to increase their I-9 audits, employers should continue to review and seek maximum compliance in maintaining their I-9 records. Receiving the Form I-9 Notice of Inspection letter, warns you that an audit from ICE is pending. Reviewing your company’s I-9 policies, training those within your company who are responsible for the completion of I-9 forms, and conducting your own self audit of I-9 records are steps that employers should consider. Completing these steps may likely reduce potential fines and other imposed sanctions should your company be subjected to an ICE I-9 Audit.
For additional information on the Form I-9 or conducting an audit, please contact New Focus HR, LLC.
Written By: Kristen Shingleton, M.B.A., CCP
President, New Focus HR LLC