New I-9 Published Today

On Jan. 31, 2020, USCIS published the Form I-9 Federal Register notice announcing a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, that the Office of Management and Budget approved on Oct. 21, 2019. This new version contains minor changes to the form and its instructions. Employers should begin using this updated form as of Jan. 31, 2020.

The notice provides employers additional time to make necessary updates and adjust their business processes. Employers may continue using the prior version of the form (Rev. 07/17/2017 N) until April 30, 2020. After that date, they can only use the new form with the 10/21/2019 version date. The version date is located in the lower left corner of the form.

USCIS made the following changes to the form and its instructions:


Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when selecting a foreign passport) in Section 2 to add Eswatini and Macedonia, North per those countries’ recent name changes. (Note: This change is only visible when completing the fillable Form I-9 on a computer.)


  • Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
  • Updated USCIS website addresses
  • Provided clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9
  • Updated the process for requesting paper Forms I-9
  • Updated the DHS Privacy Notice

A revised Spanish version of Form I-9 with a version date of 10/21/2019 is available for use in Puerto Rico only.

For more information, visit I-9 Central or join a free Form I-9 webinar

WH-516 Confusion

This is just a short (Okay not so short) article to clarify some confusion regarding the notification of working terms and conditions that is required to be given to Migrant or Seasonal workers under the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act known simply as MSPA. MSPA requires a number of things of the employer to make sure there is no gray area about the employment.

First let’s look at some definitions and why we typically don’t have Seasonal Workers as you may think. Migrant workers are employees that leave their permanent home and come to work for an agricultural employer and stay over night for some period of time. If gins have MSPA workers we typically have Migrant Workers. Seasonal Workers are ‘local’ workers that are recruited by means of a day-haul operation. Day-haul means the employer drives to a gathering point and picks up however many employees he needs that day. They are normally paid daily for their work. Very few, if any, gins get employees by means of day-haul operations so it is not typical for a gin to have Seasonal Workers.

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Gin School Right Around the Corner

The National Cotton Ginners Association and USDA Gin Labs work together each year to put on several ginning schools across the country. The third and final school for 2019 will be in Stoneville, MS from June 4th through the 6th. This is the closest school to the SE each year. Many manufacturers and designers as well as researchers and experts in regulatory and safety issues will be on hand to give the attendees presentations on a number of topics.

This year there will once again be three levels of school covering various levels of experience and detail. Level one is the most basic and is designed for those that are just beginning in the process. Level two is an intermediate level and level three is the most advanced. Most of the levels require the previous level to attend. There is also a continuing education session for two of the three days which typically goes into a few topics a bit more in depth.

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More On SSA No-Match Letters

As you likely know, we work with a lot of attorneys on labor and immigration issues. Sometimes those issues overlap, especially in agriculture. One of the law firms we turn to a lot is Fisher and Phillips. They have feet in many facets of labor law and immigration as well so we trust what they say. Until today, F&P hasn’t had guidance on the new no-match letters. We encourage you to read the document linked below if you have have received a no-match letter already.

Apparently not many gins have received these letters and that’s good. For those of you that have, there has been a good bit of trepidation about what to do. A couple weeks ago, we posted a guidance document from some other attorneys that work in these fields. Now we have another in-depth document written by folks that understand ag as well. We will send out additional documents tomorrow or early next week but we wanted to get this guidance in front of you as soon as possible.

Give us a call if you have any questions.



OSHA Clarifies Earlier Rules on Drug Testing and Incentives

Way back in 2016 (before the election) OSHA published a pretty comprehensive rule that affected many, if not all, businesses in the US. The rule was fairly controversial initially but not for the stated purpose of the rule. The rule was the electronic reporting rule that required all large and many small companies (including cotton gins) to report their OSHA 300 data to the agency each year. Included in that rule, almost as an afterthought, were two additional rules that dealt with incentive programs and drug testing as they play a roll in timely reporting of injuries by employees.

The additional rules known as the anti-retaliation rules, initially barred employers from post Continue reading

Are You Ready for an Audit

When we hear the word audit, we (or at least I) think of the IRS but businesses around the country, especially seasonal or that use a lot of migrant or immigrant labor have a lot more to worry about when it comes to Audits. ICE and Wage and Hour have both been stepping up their efforts to make sure employees are both legal and paid properly.

A recent article by attorneys in the restaurant space outlines how much more raid and audit activity ICE has been working on since the beginning of the year. ICE has more than tripled the audits and raids on employers compared to all of 2017 according to the authors. The article goes on to discuss what employers should do to prepare. More than 5200 employers received notices of intent to audit earlier this year. The advice given in the article is good for all Continue reading