The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) released the new one in anticipation of the mandatory use of version 10/21/19 of Form I-9 on May 1 M-274, manual for employers. The M-274 is the practical companion of the Form I-9, and its importance should not be underestimated. The handbook contains important guidelines for compliance with the I-9 guidelines, which are intended to supplement employers’ understanding of the responsibilities and obligations for checking employability. The M-274 contains 96 pages and should be used in conjunction with Form I-9 instructions.
It’s a lot to digest and the new version contains the most important changes and clarifications we’ve seen in a long time. Don’t despair, the I-9 geeks in Seyfarth are still thinking about the manual. In fact, we’re busy mapping out the changes and highlighting elements that need further clarification so you don’t have to. A webinar invitation for next week to go through the updates and discuss compliance with I-9 immigration regulations during COVID-19 will be released shortly.
The Summary of changes The document published by USCIS highlights important tips and explanations for employers, but is difficult to understand if you immerse yourself in the completion of Form I-9 daily. It is important to note that this summary is not intended to replace the manual itself.
As you will see, nothing is perfect. The M-274 instructs employers to fill out I-9 for F-1 students and change status to H-1b as follows:
In section 1, a new employee should:
- Select “An Alien Who Is Eligible To Work Up.” and
- Enter September 30 and the year that the H-1B change request was submitted as the expiration date.
In section 2 you should:
- Enter EAD as the document title.
- Enter the receipt number of Form I-797C in the Document Number field.
- Enter September 30th and the year you submitted the petition in the Expiration Date field. and
- Enter CAP-GAP in the Additional Information field.
Enter CAP-GAP and September 30th and the year you submitted the petition in the Additional Information field to update Section 2 for a current employee who is eligible for one after receiving Form I-797C Extension of the upper limit. For example CAP-GAP 09/30 / YYYY.
This new “cap gap” requirement to record the I-797C receipt is often not possible, especially given the recent delays in COVID-19 reception.
We also agree that the amount of information that USCIS requests is in the Field for additional information will require a larger box. The M-274 instructs employers whose existing employees have received an automatic renewal of work permit:
- Update the Additional Information field in Section 2 if the employee’s EAD has been automatically expanded. Employers should enter EAD EXT and the automatically extended 180-day date in the Additional Information field in Section 2.
- Example: EAD EXT MM / DD / YYYY.
Combined with all COVID-19 related guides to get information into the Field for additional informationthis box will likely get crowded very quickly for some employees’ I-9s.
Please send us your comments on the new M-274.
If you have any questions about Form I-9 or E-Verify compliance, contact your Seyfarth attorney or author Dawn Lurie at [email protected]
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