As if I-9 Compliance Wasn’t Confusing Enough: How To Avoid Traps of New Federal Security Features

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Hiring managers know that in order to legally utilize immigrant workers, they must accurately complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. But, there’s a redesigned federal document that is leading to confusion as businesses try to comply with the law.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is rolling out its redesigned Form I-766 Employment Authorization Card (commonly known to employers as an “EAD”). It has enhanced features to strengthen security and deter fraud. The agency began issuing the new EADs in late October and anticipates that more than 1 million people in the U.S. will receive the new documents within the next year.

Employers are still required to accept an unexpired EAD as a valid List A document for Form I-9 purposes in the hiring and, if applicable, the re-verification process for employees. List A documents establish both a worker’s identity and employment authorization for work in the United States. The newly-redesigned EAD incorporates many of the design changes seen in the Form I-551 Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as the “Green Card”) that was similarly redesigned in May, 2010.

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