Social Security Administration Resumes Regular E-Verify Timeframes and Operations
The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has resumed its regular E-Verify operations and is no longer providing extended timeframes to resolve employment eligibility verification mismatches for cases referred on or after July 15, 2022. As such, any mismatches referred on or after July 15th must be resolved within eight (8) federal working days (i.e., Monday through Friday, not including federal holidays) and mismatches referred before July 15th must be resolved by September 29, 2023 or a Final Nonconfirmation will be issued for the case. Please note that employers participating in E-Verify must close every case they have created, except for cases that result in “Employment Authorized” statuses, which will be automatically closed by the E-Verify system. Contact legal counsel to ensure that your company’s E-Verify processes and procedures adhere to federal law, as improper use of E-Verify may be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Justice for investigation.
U.S. Department of Justice Cracks Down on Violations of Discriminatory Employment Practices
In 2022 alone, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has settled multiple claims and published at least twelve (12) settlement agreements involving various companies, finding that these companies engaged in unfair documentary practices or committed unlawful citizenship status discrimination. From a small home health care provider to one of the world’s largest shipping couriers, the DOJ has targeted companies of all sizes in enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. One major settlement required sixteen (16) employers to pay civil penalties totaling $832,944, undergo training, and implement changes to their recruiting practices to avoid future discriminatory practices, while another settlement required a company to undergo a three-year period of government monitoring due to discriminatory E-Verify use. As coronavirus-related flexibilities and extensions are set to expire, companies should work to reevaluate recruitment, I-9, and E-Verify practices to ensure compliance with federal laws and prevent assessments of heavy civil penalties by the DOJ.
Department of State Update: USCIS Projected to Utilize All Available Employment-Based Immigrant Visas for this Fiscal Year
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has issued more than 280,000 employment-based immigrant visas for the current fiscal year—approximately twice the annual allocation. Due to pandemic-related consular closures throughout fiscal year (“FY”) 2021, 140,000 family-based visas were reallocated to the employment-based annual limit for FY 2022 and USCIS undertook efforts to issue as many employment-based immigrant visas as possible to reduce backlogs. As a result of these efforts and based on USCIS’s confirmation there are no visas remaining for applicants from any EB-1 and EB-2 country of chargeability, it is safe to say that USCIS will likely exhaust the supply of immigrant visas allocated for FY 2022 by the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2022. While USCIS is still accepting adjustment of status (“AOS”) applications pursuant to the September Visa Bulletin, once visa numbers are no longer available, USCIS will no longer approve pending cases and those applications will be shelved until visa numbers become available as per the applicable priority date. As such, many applicants with pending AOS applications have reported electronic updates to their applications indicating that the annual limit for their category and country has been reached. Beginning October 1, 2022, USCIS is expected to resume acceptance of AOS applications based on the Visa Bulletin’s Dates for Filing Chart rather than the Final Action Dates Chart. Contact immigration counsel to discuss your immigration strategy in light of these new developments.
DID YOU KNOW? The Immigration Practice Group at Munsch Hardt represents clients in matters concerning I-9 compliance and fairness in employment practices and can assist with internal audits and policy assessments before an ICE audit is served.