Revised I-9 Verification Forms now required
Effective Dec. 26, 2007, employers are now required to use the revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) for new employees or to re-verify an existing employee's identity and employment eligibility. Along with the I-9 form, USCIS has also revised the list of acceptable documents to show identity, employment authorization, or both. For more information, please see our prior advisory on this subject. In addition, you are advised to conduct periodic self-audits to ensure that your I-9 documentation is in good order. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) is expected to heighten its enforcement efforts, particularly against those employers it suspects of knowingly hiring workers with improper documents.
Contact your immigration lawyer in early March if you are planning to apply for one of the 65,000 “regular” cap and 20,000 “Masters” cap H-1B visas, which become available on Oct. 1, 2008. Generally, this reminder applies to those employees transferring from F-1 Optional Practical Training or TN (Treaty NAFTA) to H-1B, or to new hires from abroad. April 1, 2008 is the first date that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept new petitions for the new 2009 fiscal year starting Oct. 1. However, judging from prior years, the demand for these H-1Bs will far exceed the available supply. USCIS will accept new petitions on April 1 and 2, 2008, and will then select by lottery from those filed during the two days. Those not selected will be returned. For further information on H-1B visas, the cap and exemptions, please see our previous advisories.
New document requirements for U.S. entry now in effect
Effective Jan. 31, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented changes to its requirements for U.S. citizens or Canadians entering the U.S. at land or sea ports of entry. Canadian and U.S. citizens who are 19 years of age and older must present documents that prove both identity and citizenship (documents proving identity must include a photo, name and date of birth). Those who are 18 years of age and younger need only present proof of citizenship, such as a passport or a birth certificate. All existing nonimmigrant visa and passport requirements will remain in effect.
U.S. lawful permanent residents are required to present their Permanent Resident Card (I-551) or other valid evidence of lawful permanent residence. Mexicans, including children, must present a valid passport and a B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant visa or a Border Crossing Card. The text of the full press release is also available at the DHS Web site.