I know a lot of you have been doing the best you can with onboarding during this time with the limited resources that you have. As I discussed with you in March, USCIS issued some rules about how to remotely verify Section 2 documents during stay-at-home orders. See that post here.
In today’s update, I wanted to go over three recent publications that also affect your day-to-day operations. Please carefully review this information with the official updates and how-tos from USCIS. But first, read on for a quick overview!
Expired List B Documents
List B documents are documents that establish identity. The most commonly used List B document is a state driver’s license (or “driver license” depending on where you live).
Beginning on May 1, identity documents found in List B set to expire on or after March 1, 2020, and not otherwise extended by the issuing authority, may be treated the same as if the employee presented a valid receipt for an acceptable document for Form I-9 purposes.
If you’re not familiar with the “receipt rule,” it’s a pretty narrow rule that allows an employee to present an expired document for Section 2 verification in a limited set of circumstances. Well, now that’s being expanded to let employees present expired documents because government agencies may not be open to renew things like licenses and people may not be able to travel to get those renewals. Again, read the guidance on how to deal with those documents when completing Section 2.
Updated M-274, Employer Handbook
USCIS made some updates to the employer handbook – the daunting 250+ page manual that’s intended to help you easily complete Form I-9 – based on the new I-9 released in January (even though it’s technically dated 10/21/19, ’cause that’s just how they roll). Instead of reading the whole handbook like I have, check out their summary of changes document.
Updates on how to manage H-2A agricultural workers
H-2A agricultural workers are temporary, seasonal workers coming to the U.S. The program “allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.”
On April 20, the Department of Homeland Security published a temporary final rule to amend certain H-2A requirements to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
The news here is that USCIS will now allow a new employer to permit an H-2A worker to begin work upon receipt of the new H-2A petition. The three-year-stay limit has also been extended. This is a temporary rule and it expires August 18, 2020 at which time new guidance will be issued. The E-Verify “What’s New” page that I linked above provides information on which employers and petitions qualify for this as well as instructions on how to complete Form I-9.
E-Verify and I-9 Central have new email addresses
New I-9 in effect as of May 1
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that the new I-9 took effect May 1. YOU MUST NOW USE THE NEW FORM. Recycle all the old forms you you printed out. Make sure your electronic systems are updated with the 10/21/19 edition. Make sure everyone in your organization who might complete an I-9 is now using the correct version. There is no leeway.
I’m here to talk. What questions do you have about these updates? How are you handling the not-in-person I-9 process?