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USCIS Releases Updated Form & Employers I-9 Manual

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) released a new Form I-9 and employer's manual. Fortunately, employers will have 60 days to transition to use of the new form -- until May 7, 2013. The revised employer's manual is a big improvement from previous versions in that it helps clarify many issues and is easier to navigate through. Click here to see updated manual. Click here for a review of what was changed in the new Employers Handbook M-274.

Also, it should be noted that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been aggressively fining companies for mere technical I-9 violations.  Even where the company has no unauthorized workers, ICE has recently been coming down hard on mere technical violations.

For example, in September 2010, Abercrombie and Fitch was fined $1 million because it’s digital I-9 software had a glitch which resulted in some I-9’s having blank fields.  Even though all of the employees in question were work authorized and all had I-9’s, ICE still fined the company in order to send a message.  The Officer in Charge of the investigation noted:  “This settlement should serve as a warning to other companies that may not yet take the employment verification process seriously or provide it the attention it warrants." Click here to review ICE press release.

Until Congress creates a digital social security card to help employers through the process, I-9’s that are not compliant will affect the value of your company and expose management to liability.   Employers are encouraged to be proactive in this area and ensure compliant I-9 practices.

Click here for a link to manual.

(Source: Carlton DiSante & Freudenberger LLP)