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EIG Dispatch – February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

Highlights

  • Case Study in I-9 Compliance
  • New USCIS Procedures for Correspondence with Petitioners, Beneficiaries, and Attorneys of Record

Case Study in I-9 Compliance

In a recently decided case, United States v. Employer Solutions Staffing Group II, LLC, the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) refused to lower the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s penalties for a staffing company’s I-9 violations. The penalties, which amounted to $227,000, were based upon 243 separate I-9 violations.

The penalties were issued due to the staffing company’s failure to properly certify identification and work authorization documents for employees. The staffing company did not ensure that the person physically examining the employee’s identification and work authorization documentation was the same person signing Section 2 of the Form I-9. The person who examines the documents must be the same person who signs Section 2 of Form I-9.

As demonstrated by this case the penalties for I-9 violations can be steep. Employers should be vigilant about I-9 compliance and contact an attorney if they have any questions regarding how to properly certify identification or work authorization documents for employees.

New USCIS Procedures for Correspondence with Petitioners, Beneficiaries, and Attorneys of Record

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has implemented new procedures for USCIS correspondence with petitioners, beneficiaries, and attorneys of record. These new procedures took effect last week without any official announcements by USCIS of the process change.

The new procedures can be summarized as:

  • At the petitioner’s request on Form G-28, USCIS will send original notices only to the attorney, and will send a courtesy copy of notices to the petitioner.
  • For electronically filed cases, USCIS will only issue electronic notifications. No paper copy notice will be issued for electronic filings unless USCIS independently determines that a paper notice/decision is necessary or if the petitioner requests to receive a paper notification. If the petitioner elects to have paper notification sent by mail for their electronically filed case, an electronic receipt will not be provided and only the mailed paper notification will be sent.
  • USCIS will send Form I-797 approval notices with an attached I-94 record for beneficiaries with an approved extension of stay or a change of status to the attorney of record unless otherwise specified on Form G-28.
  • USCIS will continue to send secure identification documents (such as employment authorization cards and green cards) directly to the applicant or petitioner unless the applicant or petitioner specifically consents to having the document sent to the attorney of record on Form G-28.

USCIS has revised Form G-28 following the above rule change, however, the release of the form has been delayed. Once released, the updated Form G-28 will allow petitioners to select their notification preferences. Until then, attorneys must continue to use the current Form G-28 (edition date 2/28/2013). As a result of the process change and the delay in the new Form G-28 release USCIS has been sending original approval notices directly to the petitioner company headquarters. Both USCIS and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have confirmed that attorneys across the U.S. have been receiving courtesy notices instead of the original notices.