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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Updated Form I-9 Process


Alabama@Work
By: Tommy Eden, Attorney

In April Chun Yan Lin of Doraville, Ga., was sentenced to two years in federal prison for conspiring to transport and harbor illegal aliens under the cover of his employment agency. In all, 23 defendants have been sentenced and 10 employment agencies shut down.

Lin owned an employment agency called "Lucky," in Chamblee, Ga., and conspired with other employment agency owners to transport and provide jobs to illegal aliens. They were primarily placed in restaurant jobs but did not request any proof that the aliens had permission to be or work in the United States or fill out Form I-9. Lin charged the undocumented aliens a commission and transportation fee to place them in a restaurant or other job site and to drive them there, or in some cases charged the restaurant owners, who deducted the fees from their illegal workers' modest pay.

Two new federal initiatives meant to stop this kind of illegal activity will also affect all Alabama employees. First, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has resumed its No Match or “Request for Employer Information” letter stating that the information reported on an individual’s W-2 or W-2c form does not match the SAA records.

When an employee or an employer receives a No Match letter, they should have the employee contact the SSA. A No Match letter alone should not be the basis for taking adverse action against an employee, rather the employee should be given an opportunity to make a correction or provide documentation. The employer should document its efforts to obtain the corrected information in its records.

Second, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published its new interim final rule which made certain changes to the I-9 process effective May 16, 2011. As a part of the verification process, employers must complete a Form I-9, retain the form for a statutorily established period of time, and make the form available for inspection by certain government officials.

Key Form I-9 process changes: 1) employers are required to accept only unexpired documents; 2) deleting outdated documents from the list of acceptable documents; and 3) continue to use the two most recent versions of the Form I-9 (Rev. 08/07/2009 and 02/02/2009) with an expiration date of Aug. 31, 2012.

Common Sense Counsel: Four Steps to avoid becoming Mr. “Lucky”:
• Use the DHS employment eligibility verification program E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of all new hires;
• Permit the I-9 and E-Verify process to be conducted only by individuals who
have received formal training;
• Document the definitive resolution of no-match letters received
from the Social Security Administration (SSA)
• Establish and maintain appropriate Immigration policies, practices and safeguards

Tommy Eden is an attorney with Capell & Howard, P.C. and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, and presented throughout the State of Alabama on Immigration Workplace Compliance and also to the Governor’s Commission in 2008. He can be contacted at tme@chlaw.com or 334-241-8030 for forms to address the above issues.