Wednesday, January 12, 2011

USCIS Releases the Handbook for Employers January 5, 2011 edition

The USCIS has published a revision to the Form M-274 Handbook for Employers, the agency’s instructions for employment verification on Form I-9. We provide the M-274 in an Adobe PDF format on our Website, along with the latest version of Form I-9. The Handbook is an excellent source for the current version of the List A, B and C documents that employers must verify for all new hires and for reverification of existing employees whose authorization documents expire. This revised edition contains updated illustrations of authorization and identity documents and expanded instructions for verification and storage issues for Forms I-9, including the following situations:
• J-1 documentation of the Form DS-2019 accompanied by Form I-94 or Form I-94A, with a referral to the J-1 program designated officer when clarification is necessary.

• Permissible use of common abbreviations such as DL for driver’s license or SS for Social Security.

• Permanent Resident Cards with either an expiration date or no expiration date are List A documents that should not be reverified.

• If an employee presents an expired Permanent Resident Card along with a Form I-797, Notice of Action, that indicates that the card is valid for an ad¬ditional year, this combination is acceptable List C evidence of employment authorization for one year as indicated on Form I-797.At the end of the one-year period, you must reverify. 2011 Handbook at 9

• Refugees and Asylees are authorized to work because of their immigra¬tion status, a refugee or asylee should write “N/A” on the line calling for an expiration date. Id. at 10

• CAP-GAP F-1 students who seek to change to H-1B status may be eligible for a cap-gap extension of status and employ¬ment authorization through September 30 of the calen¬dar year for which the H-1B petition is being filed, but only if the H-1B status will begin on October 1. The term cap-gap refers to the period between the time a nonim¬migrant’s F-1 student status would ordinarily end and his or her H-1B status begins. Id. at 16

• The 240 Day Rule-The Handbook provides verification instructions for this common situation for nonimmigrant workers. While the peti¬tion is pending, your existing employee is authorized to continue to work for you, for up to the applicable time period—120 days to 240 days depending on the catego¬ry petitioned for—or until USCIS denies your petition, whichever comes first. Id. At 18.