New England Companies Face I-9 Violations for American Workers

November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has fined almost 50 New England businesses more than $600,000 in this past year for I-9 violations. This is a huge increase over the previous year and all indications are that these fines will increase again next year.

As stated in its announcement, the immigration service plans to expand the number of businesses audited next year. As noted, the Obama administration has made I-9 enforcement against businesses a priority to weed out undocumented workers and employees in industries known or alleged to hire undocumented workers.

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How Formal is the Formal Rulemaking Process?

June 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

According to USCIS, I-9 Central is a website that has been created to assist employers with the completion, maintenance and storage of the I-9 form.

“I-9 Central provides critical information for all employers – whether they hire a single employee or hundreds – in an accessible, intuitive and comprehensive online format,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas when the website premiered in 2011.

Since that time, I-9 Central continuously adds content that creates guidelines for employers to follow without being vetted through the formal rulemaking process.

Why should we care about the formal rulemaking process?  Good question!
For one thing,  it allows the public and other governmental agencies to comment on intended and unintended consequences of proposed rules.  Thus, while the formal rulemaking process may be long and tedious, it does have value.   This process is particularly helpful when multiple agencies have an interest in a process or procedure, as in the case with Form I-9.

For example, the Form I-9 is issued by the USCIS and enforced by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). The I-9 process is then carefully monitored by the Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices which enforces the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Here’s an example why the formal rulemaking process matters:
I-9 Central recently posted that a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization is an acceptable List C document. However, USCIS specifically removed the Certificate of Naturalization from List A of the List of Acceptable Documents in November 2007 because it did not contain “security features to make it resistant to tampering, counterfeiting, and fraudulent use.”  Since the formal rulemaking process was not followed, employers have no independent assurances that either ICE or OSC will accept the guidance as proper procedure when enforcing the law or sanctioning employers.  Additionally, USCIS could potentially remove this guidance from their website and employers would have no independent record that it had relied upon this guidance from USCIS at the time the decision was made to rely upon a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization.

Our belief is that I-9 Central may be creating more questions than solutions for employers even though USCIS actively promotes the site as the go-to locale for all employers. Employers should use extreme caution when relying upon the guidance posted on I-9 Central.  We suggest you contact us if you have any doubts about I-9’s. It is what we do!

Workshop Tackles the Nuts and Bolts of Form I-9

October 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I-9 Workshop

On October 13, attorneys John Wilson and Grace Miller gave a lively presentation on Form I-9 and E-Verify to members of the River Valley Human Resources Association in Claremont, NH. We would like to thank all the participants for asking many great, engaging questions, and of course extend a big thank you to Claremont Savings Bank for hosting us in their conference room.

In addition to providing an in-depth look at each section of the I-9 Form and the Lists of Acceptable Documents, attorneys Wilson and Miller explained E-Verify, how it relates to the I-9 Form, and what obligations are created when employers enroll in the program. Participants left the workshop with a better understanding of the I-9 form and why it’s frequently called the most complicated one page form ever created!

Each participant received GoffWilson’s coveted I-9 Form Reference Workbook, which past participants have said they use every time a new person is hired. GoffWilson attorneys have carefully tailored this workbook to be a practical, step-by-step guide to completing the I-9 Form. The workbook also provides examples of correctly completed I-9 Forms, frequently asked questions, and examples that can help you spot I-9 errors  before they become a legal headache.

We would like to extend a special thank you to the participants who asked us to stay longer to review additional examples and ask questions.  If you were unable to attend this workshop and you are interested in Form I-9 related training, please stay tuned to GoffWilson’s I-9 Blawg.  Additional presentations will be offered soon. They will be announced on our Blawg and our social media accounts, so be sure to bookmark us and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you are interested in hosting a workshop for your organization, please visit the I-9 training and seminars page on our website.

Thank you again to all of the participants for a great workshop!

Another Great I-9 & E-Verify Seminar! Thanks to All Attendees!

September 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Thank you to all of the participants who attended our seminar, “Form I-9 & E-Verify: What You Need To Know – 2011” yesterday at Northeast Delta Dental in Concord, New Hampshire. We would like to thank Northeast Delta Dental for providing the venue – as well as a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste for each participant! We had an engaging workshop with lots of great questions.

Participants included private employers, public employers, not-for-profit organizations, and government entities of all sizes. To make sure we’re addressing the needs of our attendees, we like to survey participants soon after the seminar. If you would like to take part in this brief survey, please click here.

In addition to the yummy breakfast, participants left with an in-depth understanding of I-9 form completion and retention requirements. Attorneys John Wilson and Grace Miller demystified E-Verify and the employer’s obligations created by enrolling in the program.

Each participant was given GoffWilson’s sought-after I-9 form reference workbook, which past participants have said they use every time a new person is hired. Using this workbook, participants were given the opportunity to put pen to paper and complete sample I-9 forms that were filled with common issues and problems. Workshop participants then applied their knowledge and skillfully spotted errors on sample I-9 forms.

GoffWilson has certified this course for HRCI credit. Participants who needed PHR/SPHR certification received 3 hours of HRCI credit.

Thank you again to all of the participants and Northeast Delta Dental for a great work!

The Receipt Rule: Lost, Stolen or Damaged I-9 Documents

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

What if an employee tells you, “My dog ate my passport?”

As most employers and HR professionals know, a new employee must complete Section 1 of the I-9 Form at “the time of hire,” or before completing the first day of employment. In addition, the employee must present original documents to prove identity and work authorization, to the employer, prior to the end of the third day of employment. If an employer hires a person for fewer than three business days, the I-9 procedure must be completed before employment may commence. For a detailed, handy timeline, download the free I-9 Completion Timeline.

What if an employee tells you, “My dog ate my passport?”

Receipt Rule: Lost, Stolen or Damaged Documents
If an employee’s original document was lost, stolen or damaged, the employee may present a receipt for the application of a replacement document. The original replacement document must be presented to the employer within ninety (90) days of hire. Please note: receipts for applications to renew or extend a document may not be accepted under the receipt rule.

Upon reviewing the original replacement document, the employer should update the I-9 using the appropriate method outline in the Handbook for Employers (M-274). A link to this handbook can be found on the left-hand side of the blog, under Blogroll.

For answers to specific questions regarding the I-9 Form, please contact GoffWilson.

Announcing Form I-9 and E-Verify seminar for November 2010

October 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Knowledge is power in the changing landscape of federal immigration enforcement.

GoffWilson, an immigration law firm with offices in New Hampshire and abroad, announces an encore presentation of the winning seminar for Employers and Human Resource Professionals, “Form I-9 & E-Verify: What You Need To Know 2010”. Back by popular demand for the third time, the training workshop will take place on Thursday, November 18, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Delta Dental Auditorium in Concord, NH.

Participants earn three Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) continuing education credit hours for completing the training.

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ALERT: ICE to Serve More Than 500 New Notices of Inspection

September 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released the following announcement:

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has confirmed to AILA that the agency is serving more than 500 Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to companies throughout the U.S. this week. According to ICE, the audits flow in large part from leads about employers who allegedly are engaging in hiring unauthorized workers and paying employees unfair wages or otherwise exploiting workers.”

As information is released, GoffWilson will advise blawg readers. If your company is contacted by ICE, you will only have three business days to produce all of your I-9 forms. Along with the I-9 forms, ICE will also frequently ask for additional documents including payroll records, a list of currently employees, and business licenses. Contact GoffWilson if you receive a Notice of Inspection and before responding, as this is usually the first step of an audit and/or investigation. You may contact GoffWilson regarding this matter or related I-9 compliance issues.

Click here to view ICE’s Factsheet for I-9 Inspections.

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