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New I-9 Form, M-274 Handbook and ICE Audit UpdateMarch 18, 2013

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Professionals

There have been significant updates to the I-9 Form that was proposed last year. This article summarizes the new updates to the I-9 Form, M-274 Handbook and ICE Audit Update.

New I-9 Form

On March 8, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published the long-awaited, revised Form I-9. USCIS initially proposed the new form in March 2012 and has spent the past several months reviewing thousands of comments about the proposed changes. The key changes on the new form include expanding the form from one to two pages; a slightly different layout; and additional data fields including optional fields in Section 1 such as telephone number and email address. The I-9 form also provides more detailed instructions concerning completion of the form. The new form can be found at www.uscis.gov and on I-9 central at www.uscis.gov/I-9Central.

Employers may immediately begin using the revised I-9 form for new hires, but have the option to continue using the existing I-9 form (2/2/2009 and 8/7/2009 versions as noted in the bottom right-hand corner) until May 7, 2013.   On May 7, all employers must begin using the revised I-9 form for new hires. Employers do not need to complete a new I-9 form on the revised form if they already have an existing I-9 form on file for the employee.   The form is available for review in Spanish and English versions, but only the English version can be completed for I-9 purposes.

Updated M-274 Handbook

USCIS has updated the M-274 Handbook (Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing the Form I-9) with information about the revised I-9 form (Rev. 3/8/2013) as well. The Handbook includes examples of proper I-9 completion using the new form. The revised M-274 handbook can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/m-274.pdf.

ICE Audit Update and Training

Preliminary reports indicate ICE may be gearing up to substantially increase I-9 audits in 2013 with continued emphasis on subsequent audits for those employers previously audited by ICE as well as audits for businesses in critical infrastructure.   With immigration reform as a possibility on the horizon, the federal government will likely continue with worksite enforcement initiatives which often result in substantial fines for employers.

To prepare for these changes, employers must remain committed to achieving effective immigration compliance on state and federal immigration laws.   The ability to demonstrate good faith efforts remains an important component of an effective compliance program. Managers should receive periodic I-9 compliance training and consider implementing an effective immigration compliance program. 

Please contact Melissa Azallion at mazallion@mcnair.net or (843) 785-2171 or any McNair attorney for assistance on immigration compliance matters.

Additional Information

McNair Law Firm has experienced attorneys who focus on various aspects of the law including Immigration and Labor and Employment. If you have any questions about this news alert, please contact Melissa Azallion or any of our attorneys on our website at www.mcnair.net

This Alert provides an overview of certain aspects of a specific legal issue. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation. This Alert does not establish and should not be construed as establishing an attorney client relationship.

Melissa M. Azallion
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Shelter Cove Executive Park
23-B Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 400
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928