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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. Revised 2-Page Form I-9 is Finally Released; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser, P.C.

    The USCIS has today released the long-awaited new 2-page Form I-9, which is dated "Rev. 03/08/13."  Go to www.uscis.gov/ and then forms for the new Form I-9 with new instructions. 
    Employers should immediately start to use this new I-9 and discontinue using earlier Form I-9s
    with other expiration dates. USCIS is providing a 60-day grace period (which ends on May 7, 2013) before it is mandatory to use the new form.
    IMPORTANT - New Form I-9 does not mean that current employees should fill out a new Form I-9. It only means that you should use the new Form I-9 for new hires or re-hires (which normally does not include employees being recalled from a layoff).
    Here are some important new aspects of the new Form I-9:

    Biggest change - It is 2 pages, which should make it easier to fill out. Page 1 is Section 1 while page 2 is Sections 2 and 3.
    Section 1 adds boxes for the employee to list their email address and telephone number. However, this is optional though the Form I-9 does not state such, only the instructions.
    Section 1 no longer asks for "Maiden name" rather asks for "Other Names Used (if any)".
    Section 1 adds a data field for the employee to list their I-94 Admissions number and
    foreign passport number and country as an alternative to the A Number if the employee is only authorized to work rather a lawful permanent resident or U.S.  citizen. Hopefully this will be helpful but it is also could be very confusing.
    Uses a signature box for an employee to sign in Section 1, rather than the previous confusing signature line.

    According to USCIS, it improves the instructions for filling out the I-9. I agree.
    In Section 2 instructions, explanation of when a receipt is an acceptable document;
    and how the 3 day rule works for completing the I-9 by the employer.
    Section 2 clarifies the use of acceptable documents, "List A OR List B AND List C" though I still assume that some employers will illegally overdocument by filling out information in all lists under the philosophy - more is better.

    Changes title of Section 3 to "Reverification and Rehires" from "Updating and Reverification." This change could lead to confusion on whether name changes need to be updated. The instructions say yes.

    It does not add or delete acceptable documents in Lists A, B or C.

     If you have any questions, let me know.
     
  2. FTD Receives late Valentine Day gift, not; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser, P.C.

    The Department of Justice, through the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), reached an agreement with FTD Inc., to resolve allegations that the company retaliated against a man for asserting rights under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  
    OSC initiated the investigation after receiving a complaint from a work-authorized immigrant that FTD rescinded the individual's conditional job offer after a background check revealed a purported error in his Social Security account number.   The man informed FTD that he was authorized to work in the United States and provided documents showing his status.   The man also threatened to pursue his legal rights under the INA's anti-discrimination provision.   FTD responded by terminating all communication with the individual.    
    Under the terms of the settlement agreement, FTD agreed to pay $1,800 in back pay to the individual and $3,000 in civil penalties.   FTD also agreed to undergo Justice Department training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  
    This is the fourth settlement that OSC has reached with employers in the first two months of 2013. So beware of potential legal diffiulties with the OSC.
  3. OSC Settles with Houston Community College; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser, P.C.

    The Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) has reached an agreement with Houston Community College (HCC) resolving allegations that the college violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 
    The investigation began after an individual filed a charge alleging that she was discriminated against in the hiring process.  The investigation revealed that for at least the last two years, HCC engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by requiring non-U.S. citizens to provide specific documentation establishing their work authority, while not making similar demands from U.S. citizens.  However, interestingly, OSC did not find that the individual that filed the charge was herself a victim of the discriminatory practice.

    Under the settlement agreement, HCC will pay $83,600 in civil penalties.  It also agreed to abandon its prior department-based employment eligibility verification process in favor of a centralized verification process, create a $20,000 back pay fund to compensate potential victims who lost wages as a result of the discriminatory practices, to undergo Justice Department training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and to be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for a period of two years. 
    As previously noted, the OSC is vigorously pursuing employers who violate the INA. So be careful and hire an immigration compliance attorney to audit your employment practices.
  4. DOJ Settles with Avant Healthcare concerning Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser


    The Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices  reached a settlement with Avant Healthcare Professionals LLC, a healthcare staffing company based in Casselberry, Fla. , resolving allegations that the company posted discriminatory job advertisements on the internet.


    According to DOJ's investigation, 100s of Avant Healthcare'S  internet-based job postings contained discriminatory language, impermissibly preferring foreign-trained individuals seeking permanent residence or H-1B visa sponsorship  over U.S. workers.   The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of citizenship or immigration status unless required by law, regulation or government contract.   None of those limited exceptions applied to Avant's recruitment efforts.
    Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Avant agreed to pay $27,750 in civil penalties, to change its internal policies and written procedures to incorporate the INA's anti-discrimination protections, and to be subject to reporting and compliance monitoring requirements for a period of three years.
    Although employers usually worry more about Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits and inspections, DOJ investigations can also be costly. Based upon this settlement, it appears the DOJ is continuing in 2013 its strenous efforts to enforce the INA's anti-discrimination protections.
     
  5. ICE fines 10 San Diego-area Companies for Immigration Violations in 2012; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser, P.C.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
    announced 10 employers in the San Diego area were fined $173,800 by ICE during
    fiscal year 2012 for various immigration employment-related violations. The
    largest fine was $50,000 against Balboa Ambulance.
    Below is a list of the other businesses in the
    San Diego area that received final fine notices from ICE in fiscal year 2012:
     Aquarius Yacht Services - $13,744
     El Sol Meat Market - $24,050
    Harmony Egg Ranch - $9,000
    International Consolidated Cargo - $7,480
    Mexicali Chicken and Salad - $21,500
    Old Town Buffet - $15,000
    Rocha Trucking & Parking Inc. - $8,000
    Stanford Sign and Awning Inc. - $9,600
    TDG Aerospace - $15,427
    The $173,800 in civil fines lodged against
    area San Diego-area companies in fiscal year 2012 represents an 18 percent
    increase over fiscal year 2011, when ICE imposed $146,577 in civil fines
    locally against 11 employers.
    In fiscal year 2012, HSi-ICE conducted 151
    worksite audits in the San Diego area, compared to 86 audits the previous year
    and 63 audits in fiscal year 2010.
    It is refreshing that ICE published these statistics concerning fines as a couple of years ago, ICE discontinued its practice of publishing all fines issued due to I-9 audits. Now, it appears they are publishing year-end statistics by area or Region. I previously blogged about the fines issued in a number of New England states. Stay tuned to see if more areas' ICE fines are published.
     
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