As of today, USCIS has received 298,834 applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) eligibility. Of these, 53,273 have been approved; workers who have been approved will either seek new employment or continue with past employment. My previous blog post from mid-October discussed how employers could unintentionally admit to ‘knowingly’ hiring unauthorized workers who apply for DACA.
DACA allows illegal immigrants, who meet certain guidelines, to remain in the US. Individuals who receive approval, also receive USCIS-issue work authorization cards called Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to demonstrate eligibility to work in the US for US employers.
Under current law, employers must keep a Form I-9 for all hired employees, both citizens and non-citizens, who are engaged to work in the US. USCIS has now issued specific guidance for employers about treatment of DACA recipients’ EAD cards, and procedures to record and process their Forms I-9 for these employees.
Hiring new Employees with EAD cards issued under DACA
In order to properly complete a Form I-9, certain documentation is required to prove both identity and employment authorization; under List A, an unexpired EAD is an acceptable document for Form I-9 completion.
The DACA EAD provides proof that an employee has been allowed to stay in the US and has been authorized to work, but has no legal status. The employer can enter EAD information in Section 2 under List A since an EAD card provides both proof of identity and work authorization. The EAD alone provides I-9 proof of the employee’s ability to work in the US; if the employer is presented with an EAD, he or she may not ask for additional documents. When an EAD expires, the employer must reverify that the employee still has work authorization in Section 3 of Form I-9.
Guidance for Processing Existing Employees
Employers who collect updated documentation from employees should examine the employee’s previously completed Form I-9 to decide whether a new Form I-9 should be completed for that employee, or decide to only complete Section 3 of the original Form I-9.
Employers should complete a new Form I-9, write the original hire date in Section 2 and attach the new I-9 to the old I-9 if any of the following changes from Section 1 of the previously completed I-9:
- employee’s name
- date of birth
- social security number (if one was provided)
Employers should only complete Section 3 of the previously completed I-9 if:
- information from Section 1 hasn’t changed or if
- the employee provides a new EAD
The employer should examine the documentation for authenticity; and, if provided, record the document title, number and expiration date. Employers should also sign and date Section 3.
Guidance on E-Verify
If the employer must complete a new Form I-9, and uses E-Verify, then the employer should confirm the new I-9 information through E-Verify. If the employer only has to complete Section 3 of I-9, then an E-Verify check is not required.
See you in my next blog.
Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Lowenbaum Partnership, LLC
St. Louis, Missouri
The information is not meant to create a client-attorney relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Situations may differ based on the facts.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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