On Friday, January 30, 2009, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would delay the implementation of an interim final rule that would have required employers to begin using a new version of Form I-9 to verify the identity and work authorization of their newly hired employees as of February 2, 2009, as we reported previously. The rule also outlines new verification guidelines and provides a redefined list of acceptable proof of identification documents. Implementation of the rule will now go into effect on April 3, 2009. USCIS has also reopened the public comment period for 30 days, until March 4, 2009.
On January 20, 2009, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments requesting that they extend for 60 days the effective date of regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but not yet taken effect, so that President Obama and his staff have an opportunity to review such regulations. The delay of the interim final rule seems to be in response to this memorandum.
The new Form I-9 can continue to be found on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/i-9. USCIS also expects to release a revised "Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9” shortly. The new Form I-9 is dated February 2, 2009, but employers are reminded not to begin using this version of the form until April 3, 2009.
We continue to monitor the status of employment eligibility verification requirements and will update you with the latest developments. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have regarding the new Form I-9 or about the I-9 process in general.