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Time to Start Using New Form I-9

Now that you’ve mastered the I-9 form, it’s time to learn how to use the new one. On November 14, 2016, USCIS released a new Form I-9 (copy attached). Employers are permitted to use the previous version of the form only until the end of this week. By January 22, 2017, this Sunday, you must use the new Form I-9, which is a "smart" form because it can be filled out online and includes drop-down menus, hover text with instructions, and error messages. Employers have the option of printing the form to be filled in by hand, completing all sections on one computer, completing the sections on different computers, or using any combination of these options. The smart form, however, does not meet the requirements for an electronic form under the regulations. Thus, any forms completed online must be printed and signed by the employee and employer representative. It can then be scanned for electronic storage. If you currently work with a third party for electronic completion and/or storage of your I-9s, they may have addressed electronic signature requirements.

Employers Must Use the New Form I-9 Starting January 22, 2017

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rolled out a new Form I-9 in November 2016. Starting January 22, 2017, all employers must use the new Form I-9, which is dated November 14, 2016 (the edition date is on the bottom of the Form I-9). Employers that do not use the new Form I-9 starting January 22, 2017 could face civil penalties.

Practical Implications of the High-Skilled Workers Regulation

In a previous article, we summarized the key provisions of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation, “Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers,” which went into effect on January 17, 2017. In this article, we analyze the key provisions and the practical implications for employers and employees in further detail.

Expansive New Rule for Certain Employment-Based Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs

Effective today, January 17, 2017, a new USCIS rule seeks to improve multiple employment-based temporary nonimmigrant and immigrant visa (“green card”) programs. The new regulations are designed to help U.S. employers hire and retain high-skilled foreign workers who are waiting to become lawful permanent residents, and to help those foreign workers continue to advance professionally even as wait times for employment-based green cards grow ever longer. The final rule clarifies and builds upon numerous longstanding USCIS policies adopted since the enactment of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) in 2000 and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) in 1998.

New USCIS Rule Amending Several Employment-Based and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs Will Take Effect on January 17, 2017

Beginning on January 17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will implement a new rule that amends certain regulations relating to employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. The rule's goal is to ease U.S. employers’ ability to hire and retain high-skilled personnel who have been granted employment-based immigrant visas and are waiting to become lawful permanent residents. The rule effectively improves the job mobility process for those workers by allowing them to accept promotions, change employers, change positions with current employers, and pursue other employment opportunities.

Matter of Dhanasar: A New Standard for National Interest Waivers in the United States

On December 27, 2016, the AAO issued a decision that modifies the standards for granting a National Interest Waiver (NIW) in Matter of Dhanasar. This decision will impact thousands of applicants seeking U.S. permanent residency based solely upon the importance of their work in the United States or their unique accomplishments/qualifications. The decision fundamentally alters the NIW standard by providing more flexibility to individuals such as entrepreneurs who have traditionally been self-employed, and whose employment was not well-suited for this benefit under the prior NIW test.

AAO National Interest Waiver Decision May Open Doors for a Broader Group of Professionals and Entrepreneurs Seeking Green Cards

On December 27, 2016, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) —the appellate body for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—announced a new standard for National Interest Waiver visa petitions in a precedent decision, Matter of Dhanasar. This reassessment comes after almost 20 years of the standard announced in Matter of New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) that has admittedly left many “uncertain what ultimately is the relevant inquiry.”

Congress Considers Halting Job Flexibility Rule, Bill to Change Employer H-1B Exemption Eligibility

Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has introduced two pieces of legislation to watch.

Revised Employment Verification Regulations Take Effect on January 18, 2017

Revised regulations implementing Section 274B of Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), prohibiting certain unfair immigration-related employment practices, will become effective on January 18, 2017, the Department of Justice has announced. Of particular import to employers are the revisions to 28 CFR Part 44 on the employment eligibility verification process. Employers should ensure their policies and practices are in compliance with the revised regulations.

Vedder Price Business Immigration Update

Vedder Price’s Immigration attorneys have assembled an overview highlighting the most recent changes in existing immigration laws and policies.