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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Administration Delays I-9 Rule

Use the 2007 I-9 Edition Until April 3, 2009

DHS has published a notice that the CIS is delaying the implementation of the I-9 Interim rule for 60 days or until April 3, 2009. 74 Fed. Reg. 5621(Jan. 30, 2009). DHS is also extending the comment period until March 4, 2009. The Interim rule had been scheduled to have become effective on February 2, 2009.

Employers are reminded to use the I-9 2007 edition
until the April 3, 2009 effective date. On that date the I-9 2009 edition must be used. We advise employers not to use the CIS 2007 Website version at this time, as it erroneously links to the 2009 form which should not be used until April 3rd.

The Interim rule's List A, B and C provisions reduce the number of permissible documents and prohibit the employer from accepting expired documents. The rule also provides minor changes to the Form I-9 to implement these changes. These changed lists and the unexpired document rule are similarly delayed in their implementation until April 3rd.

The delay in the effective date of the Interim rule is due to the White House memorandum which asked for the time to allow the Obama administration to consider the rule’s provisions. The American Immigration Lawyers Association had called on the administration to delay and reconsider the rule's effect on employers, based on its omissions and inconsistencies with other statutes and regulations.

E-Verify for Federal Contractors Delayed Until May 21, 2009

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has announced that the Acquisition Councils have agreed to postpone implementation of the FAR E-Verify final rule until May 21, 2009.

The January 20, 2009 memorandum from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, ordering a 60 day moratorium on pending regulations awaiting effective dates, is cited as the authority for the delay to allow the Obama administration to review the FAR E-Verify final rule’s legal basis.

The delayed final rule would require the insertion of the E-Verify clause into applicable federal contracts, committing government contractors to use E-Verify for their new hires and all employees (existing and new) assigned to a given federal contract.

Under the new applicability date, which is scheduled to be published in Friday’s Federal Register, any solicitations that occur prior to May 21, 2009, would not contain the contract clauses that the rule would impose.

April 1, 2009- First Authorized Receipt Date for H-1B Petitions

Employers use the H-1B visa category to employ nonimmigrant foreign workers who possess the equivalent of a U.S. bachelors degree for professional jobs each year. The first date that H-1B petitions are accepted by the USCIS for employer filing for 2009 employment is April 1st.

Advanced planning is necessary because the competition for the 58,200 H-1B numbers is keen. In 2008, a USCIS random selection (lottery) for successful petitions was necessary. There was a similar lottery needed for the additional 20,000 H-1B numbers for beneficiaries with U.S. advanced degrees.