Articles Posted in Immigration Complaince – I9 Forms

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According to an internal memorandum, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has plans to conduct a targeted enforcement operation at a national food service chain within the coming weeks. An ICE official spoke with The Daily Beast, on condition of anonymity, telling the news organization that ICE plans to conduct this operation to discourage American employers from exploiting undocumented workers by paying them low wages. Officials told the news organization that the operation will be targeting multiple locations across the United States, and that employers will likely be charged with federal offenses including harboring illegal aliens.

This move is the Trump administration’s latest attempt to deter illegal immigration through worksite enforcement actions, described by the administration as targeted operations to prosecute individuals who employ undocumented immigrants. If all goes to plan, the operation will be primarily focused on prosecuting owners of franchises who illegally employ undocumented immigrants. Sources with knowledge of the investigation have said that a preliminary investigation has already been conducted and that targets have already been chosen.

The food industry has and continues to be an industry that employs thousands of undocumented workers due to the unskilled nature of the work, and the fact that employers are able to cut costs by paying undocumented workers very low salaries. According to a 2008 Pew report, at least 10 percent of the hospitality industry is supported by the labor of undocumented immigrants. Last year, Eater reported that over 20% of all cooks working in restaurant kitchens could be undocumented. Noelle Stewart, communications manager for Define American, said that undocumented immigrants make up a crucial part of our economy in that, “they cultivate our produce; they cook our food,” she says, “the food industry wouldn’t be possible in the way it is without them.”

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In this post we bring you your daily dose of immigration updates. For more information on the immigration services we provide please visit our website. For a free first legal consultation please contact our office. It is our pleasure to accompany you on your immigration journey.

USCIS extends TPS Designation for Nepal for 18 months

The Secretary of Homeland Security recently announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Nepal will be extended for an additional 18 months, beginning December 25, 2016 through June 24, 2018. Eligible TPS applicants must either be foreign nationals of Nepal or habitually resided in Nepal. DHS will be extending current TPS Nepal Employment Authorization Cards (EADs) with a December 24, 2016 expiration date for an additional 6 months, valid through June 24, 2017.

For more information regarding TPS for Nepal please click here. For information about the TPS program please click here. Employers interested in verifying or reverifying the employment eligibility of employees who are TPS beneficiaries, may click here for more information.

EADs Extended 6 Months for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone TPS Beneficiaries

Current Beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for the designations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have had their TPS status extended for a period of 6 months, to expire on May 21, 2017. The Department of Homeland Security authorized this temporary extension to allow beneficiaries to make an orderly transition out of the United States, before termination of their TPS status on May 21, 2017. Current beneficiaries of the TPS program from these designations will automatically retain their TPS status until this date, and the validity of their current Employment Authorization Cards (EADs) will be extended through May 20, 2017.

Click here for more information about the 6-month extension of orderly transition before termination of TPS designations for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. For general information about the TPS program please click here.

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On March 8, 2013, USCIS released a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. Employers are required to use the Form I–9 to verify the identity and employment authorization eligibility of their employees. We are providing this update for U.S. employers to notify them of the changes and updates in connection with the release of the new form.

Structure of Form I-9

Form I–9 contains three sections.

This great update for employer is Courtesy of AILA’s Verification & Documentation Liaison Committee. On August 13, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that employers should continue using the current version of the Form I-9 after the form’s expiration date of August 31, 2012.

The current version of the Form I-9 has the expiration date of August 31, 2012 printed in the upper right corner and the revision date of August 7, 2009 printed in the lower right corner. Employers should use the current version of Form I-9, but the USCIS instructions for the Form I-9 state that the agency also accepts the prior version of the Form I-9, which bears a revision date of February 2, 2009.

Previously, on March 27, 2012, USCIS published a proposed revision of the Form I-9 and accepted comments on the proposed form until May 29, 2012. The USCIS announcement instructing employers to continue to use the current form until further notice indicates that the agency will not publish a final revised Form I-9 before the expiration date of the current Form I-9.

This is an important decision for all employers with current H1B employees. The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) found that the time period it took for the employee to obtain a social security card, which the employee’s employer required for their payroll system, was “nonproductive status.” The employer was therefore required to pay wages for the two-week period that it took for the employee to obtain the social security card.

However, the ARB found that the employer did not owe back wages to the H-1B worker for the period between her arrival in the U.S. and the date she contacted her employer to inform them that she was in the U.S. The ARB also found that the employer was not required to pay wages to the H-1B worker for the time period in which she was unavailable for work as a result of personal matters such as opening a bank account, obtaining a car lease, securing a driver’s license, and securing schooling and day care for her children. These were periods in which the H-1B worker was in voluntary nonproductive status.

The DOL has a regulation that states that an employer who files an H1B petition must begin to pay the sponsored worker the required LCA wage when the worker enters into employment. The DOL defines this as when the worker makes himself or herself available for employment or when the worker comes under the control of the employer.

I-9 Audits is always a hot topic. Chief of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, recently announced that the agency is going to increase the number of companies it will audit for I-9 violations and regularly impose fines on violators.

I-9 violations can be devastating. Fines for I-9 violations range from $110 to $1,100 for one single, minor, or technical violation. Incorrect I-9 forms can be used as evidence of knowingly hiring an illegal alien that can result in a fine of up to $3,200 per violation. A third offense can lead to a fine of up to $16,000 per offense.

In this guest article, former ICE Agent Mark Kochanski shares his experience and unique perspective with our readers about I-9 Audits.