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Immigration Developments

January 7, 2009

We have some important new developments relating to I-9s, E-Verify and travelling under U. S. Visit. You may wish to forward the U.S. Visit information to your foreign national employees. Please enjoy a happy beginning to a new year.

New I-9 Employment Authorization Verification Form Required

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a new rule and form for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9), which employers will be required to use as of February 2, 2009. In typical government fashion, the form has not yet become available. Please watch our website as we will post a link to it immediately when the government releases it. Also, the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents that employees may present to their employers for completion of the new Form I–9 have changed slightly: naturalization certificates are no longer considered an acceptable I-9 document and the rule also adds to "List A" foreign passports containing specially –marked machine-readable visas and documentation for certain citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI). Finally, when re-verifying an old I-9, the new Form I-9 must be used.

New Rule Requires Participation in E-Verify for Certain Federal Contractors and Subcontractors, if Lawsuit Does Not Stop Implementation

With some important exceptions, as of January 15, 2009, a new government rule requires those who contract or subcontract with the U.S. federal government to participate in the E-Verify program to electronically verify the identification and work authorization of their employees working on those contracts, and all new hires. Although interested parties filed a lawsuit to prevent implementation of this rule, to date, there is no court decision to stop this regulation from taking effect. For more information, or if you feel this regulation may apply to your organization, please contact our office.

U.S. Visit Now Applies to Permanent Residents

The United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program ("US-VISIT"), a program which requires many foreign nationals to be fingerprinted upon entry or departure from the U.S., has been in effect since 2004 and has applied to all international visitors, including those entering under the Visa Waiver Program. Limited exceptions have included children under age 14 and persons over 79. U.S. citizens are not subject to the rule. Effective January 18, 2009, permanent residents entering or exiting from an air or seaport will also be required to be fingerprinted. Permanent residents entering through land ports of entry, however, will be required to provide fingerprints only if they are referred to secondary inspection. The government indicates that it will equip all ports of entry with finger printing capability this winter. Please note that foreign nationals with criminal convictions seeking reentry to this country should be prepared to answer questions and provide evidence of their eligibility to be admitted entry to the United States.

We hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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