The new year will bring US employers a number of important changes that will necessitate close monitoring. On today's stakeholder teleconference, USCIS discussed the latest version of Form I-9. Employers will be required to start using this version starting on January 22, 2017. The form can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
A word of caution, this is a "smart" form and many stakeholders were reporting a myriad of problems with it. For example, you will need the latest version of Adobe Reader to open the form. If you don't, you will get an error. Even if you do have the latest Adobe version, the form does not work well with Chrome. Opening it in Mozilla or Internet Explorer should let you download the form. Another commonly reported problem was that social security numbers are being transposed. This is by far the most problematic issue. The I-9 team promised to immediately start working on the above issues.
Most substantive questions were referred to be submitted via email to the team rather than answered for all attendees to hear. My educated guess is that this might have something to do with the fact that a revised Handbook for Employers will be released very soon and they might want to incorporate some of those questions. I say this is in part because if you look at the existing version of the Handbook, it reads like a comprehensive FAQs. Another possibility is consistency. With an impending release of a new Handbook, the I-9 team might want to ensure that there is no discrepancy between their answers and directives to be released.
J. Pernas Law will continue to timely inform employers about the latest I-9 developments.
If you are thinking about all the great deals that will be available on Black Friday, you might want to set aside some of that money for your yet to be filed immigration case. USCIS will be increasing filing fees across the board starting on December 23rd, 2016.
It is not all bad news. The biometrics services fee will remain $85 and low-income naturalization applicants who are not eligible for the full fee waiver (Form I-912) will now have a chance to apply to pay a reduced fee of $320 for form N-400.
Applicants can apply for this benefit by submitting their naturalization application along with the new Form I-942. We'll soon be posting a blog post to talk about these waivers and their requirements in detail.
Employers will, unfortunately, experience a new fee increase by way of Form I-129. This base form will go from $325 to $460. The good news for employers is that the Premium Processing fee will remain $1,225.
Here's the new fee schedule:
Jennifer O. Pernas, Immigration attorney, corporate officer, and avid reader.