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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires employers to use new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9

Effective December 26, 2007, employers must use the new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 or risk fine and penalties. The revision of the form that is used to verify the identity and work eligibility of all new employees involves removing five documents from 'List A’ that employers may accept from new hires and adds one document to the index. The documents that have been removed from List A of the List of Acceptable Documents are:
    • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)
    • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
    • Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151)
    • Unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327)
    • Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571)

    One document was added to List A of the List of Acceptable Documents:
         • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766)
The list of acceptable documents for List A now includes:
    1. U.S. Passport (unexpired or expired)

    2. Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551)

    3. An unexpired foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp

    4. An unexpired Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph (Form I-766, I-688, I-688A, I-688B)

    5. An unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94, bearing the same name as the passport and containing an endorsement of the alien's nonimmigrant status, if that status authorizes the alien to work for the employer.
The revised form is available from the USCIS web site at:
The government has also revised the Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9, which can be downloaded from the USCIS web site at:

Illegal immigrants and Workers’ Compensation

Whether or not undocumented workers can obtain Workers’ Compensation depends on state statutes or regulatory and court decisions. On the one hand, a number of state courts have ruled that the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) does not pre-empt the state's Workers' Compensation Act and that notwithstanding their illegal status, once hired, illegal immigrants enjoy many of the same rights and protections as their legal co-workers. On the other hand, some states such as Idaho and Wyoming have ruled that undocumented workers were not entitled to benefits because they were not employees.

Several cases have been appealed and are pending. Many questions, as to exactly which benefits and what impact the IRCA may have, remain unresolved. Once an employee is denied benefits, the possibility of being sued by the employee still exists.

Employers must do a delicate balancing act – obeying the laws that protect a worker’s rights while performing the necessary due diligence to confirm that a person is authorized to work in the U.S. After obtaining the required documentation, employers should be cognizant of questions arising about the identity of the worker and respond proactively. They also should be vigilant about fraudulent documentation and train personnel to recognize false or suspicious employment documents. They should keep abreast of changing regulations and requirements regarding immigrant labor. While these efforts will help protect an organization, they cannot guarantee that a company will not be penalized if an employee is found ineligible to work in the U.S.