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Revised I-9 Form, a No-go on the No Match Issue and E-Verify
November 9, 2007
Revised I-9 Form
On November 7, 2007, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) is now available for use. The revised I-9 Form seeks to achieve full compliance with the document reduction requirements of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).
Revised I-9 Form
The revised I-9 Form also adds the most recent version of the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) to the list of acceptable List A documents. Consequently, all Employment Authorization Documents which are now in circulation and contain photographs (Forms I-688, I-688A, I-688B and I-766) will be acceptable to prove both identity and work eligibility.
Another notable change is that Section I of Form I-9 no longer requires that employees provide their social security number in Section 1. The only exception is where the employee is employed by and employer who participates in E-verify.
While the revised I-9 Form will become effective once notice is published in the Federal Register, all employers are encouraged to start using the revised I-9 Form immediately. The revised form and the “Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9” are available at www.uscis.gov.
Employers must use the 2007 edition of Form I-9 for all new employees, and for existing employees requiring re-verification. All prior versions of Form I-9 will no longer be valid; and employers who continue to use outdated forms will be subject to penalties and fines.
It should be noted that while the 2007 edition is available in both English and Spanish, the Spanish version may only be used in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Employers in the 50 states and U.S. territories may only use the English version of Form I-9.
No-go to the No-match Issue
On October 10, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, preventing implementation of the Department of Homeland Security's rule regarding SSA No-Match letters. (AFL-CIO v. Chertoff).
The no-match rule had been set to take effect September 14, 2007, providing employers with 90 days to clear up mismatches between an employee’s social security number and the Social Security Administration's records. If employers missed that deadline, they would have to either fire the workers or face fines of as much as $11,000 per employee.
In granting Plaintiff's motion, the Court considered a December 2006 Social Security Administration report estimating that approximately 17.8 million of the agency's records contained discrepancies that could result in no-match letters being sent to legally authorized workers. Of those records, approximately 12.7 million belonged to U.S.-born workers.
Secretary Chertoff expressed disappointment in the No-Match ruling handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: "President Bush made clear in August that we are going to do as much administratively as we can, within the boundaries of existing law, to further secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws. Today's ruling is yet another reminder of why we need Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform."
E-Verify is a web-based system that allows participating employers to electronically compare employee information taken from Form I-9 against more than 425 million records in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) database and more than 60 million records in DHS immigration databases. Results are returned within seconds.
Currently, more than 30,000 companies are enrolled in E-Verify. More than 3.2 million new hires have been processed through E-Verify and usage is growing by roughly 83 percent annually. The system is currently capable of handling up to 25 million inquiries a year.
For more information on E-Verify visit www.dhs.gov/E-Verify.
Caution, Illinois Clients! The State of Illinois has passed legislation prohibiting employers in their state from using E-Verify. In September, 2007, the US Department of Homeland Security filed a lawsuit against the state of Illinois to invalidate the state law that would prevent employers from using the voluntary e-verify program.