Now is a good time for employers to take a look at their immigration policies to make sure that they are starting 2015 off on the right foot. For instance, employers should:
1. Begin preparing H1B petitions. The H-1B filing deadline will soon be approaching on April 1, 2015. Accordingly, employers should begin preparations to file their H-1B applications for any new F-1 students who are working for them under an Occupational Training Program (OPT), as well as any foreign nationals that they wish to hire who are not presenting in the U.S. Although employers should mail their H-1B visa petitions on March 31, 2015 so that they can be received by USCIS on April 1, 2015, they should not send them too early as any H-1B petitions subject to the cap that are received by USCIS before April 1, 2015 will be rejected.
2. Ensure compliance with E-Verify. Although E-Verify is an optional program, those employers that choose to use E-Verify are obligated to comply with certain legal requirements, including the following:
- If an employee receives a “tentative non-confirmation” (or TNC), the employer must offer the employee an opportunity to challenge the finding by reporting to the designated agency (USCIS or SSA). If the employee chooses to challenge the finding, the employer is prohibited from terminating the employee for failure to obtain E-Verify authorization, unless and until the employer receives a final non-confirmation. On July 1, 2013, USCIS announced that E-Verify will provide email notification to employees of a TNC at the same time it notifies the employer.
- Employers can only use E-Verify to check new hires, and cannot use the system to pre-screen employees.
- Employers must use E-Verify within 3 days of the employee’s start date.
- Employers must post a notice informing prospective employees that they are an E-Verify participant, as well as an Anti-Discrimination Notice issued by the Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel, that is visible to all prospective employees.
3. Ensure compliance with I-9. Form I-9 is used to document the verification of identity and employment authorization of each new employee in the U.S. With respect to I-9, employers must:
- Allow the employee to choose which documents to present for verification.
- Refrain from requesting more documents than necessary.
- Physically examine each original document the employee presents to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it. The person who examines the documents must be the same person who signs Section 2 of the Form I-9. The examiner of the documents and the employee must both be physically present during the examination of the employee’s documents.
- Record the document title shown on the Lists of Acceptable Documents, issuing authority, document number and expiration date (if any) from the original document(s) the employee presents.
- Provide the employee’s first day of employment under “Certification.”
- Provide the name and title of the person completing Section 2 in the Signature of Employer or Authorized Representative field. Sign and date the attestation on the date Section 2 is completed.
- Record the employer’s business name and address.
- Return the employee’s documentation.
- Refrain from using pre-populated information for Section 1 if using electronic software for I-9 completion, storage, and compliance.
4. Be prepared for potential L-1 site visit. Make sure all receptionists are aware of procedures regarding USCIS site visits. Prepare the company’s immigration managers for L-1 site visit procedures, including obtaining the inspector’s identification and business card. Maintain copies of employee driver’s licenses, business cards, paystubs, and Form W-2s available. Some companies may want to designate a manager to handle all L-1 site visits.
5. Meet with an immigration lawyer. An immigration lawyer in can review your company’s immigrations policies to ensure that you are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The Chicago immigration lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group have more than 30 years of experience helping clients with their visa and immigration needs. We can help your company start 2015 off right with respect to employment immigration. Contact us at (847) 564-0712 to discuss your employment immigration policies.