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Are You Ready for the New Form I-9?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 12/29/2016
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Employers must use Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of each individual hired in the United States. Though the last version of Form I-9 expired in March 2016, employers were instructed to keep using the expired form until they received further notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. On November 14, 2016, employers received their further notice when USCIS published a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

The deadline for employers to begin using the revised Form I-9 dated 11/14/2016, is January 22, 2017. After this date, the version dated 03/08/2013 can no longer be used. Since immigration enforcement actions and employer audits are expected to increase, Form I-9 compliance will be critical for employers.

The revised Form I-9 includes embedded instructions and prompts to reduce errors. For example, if the box next to “citizen of the United States” is checked in Section 1, then “N/A” is automatically populated into contradictory fields (noncitizen national, lawful permanent resident, etc.). If a U.S. Passport is being used to confirm identity and employment authorization in Section 2, “N/A” is automatically populated in the remaining fields.

Form I-9 was also revised to make it easier to complete electronically. Though completed forms must still be printed and signed by hand, the electronically fillable form includes a number of enhancements, such as:

  • drop-down lists;
  • calendars for filling in dates;
  • on-screen instructions for each field;
  • easy access to full instructions;
  • an automatically generated Quick Response (QR) Code that can be read by most QR readers; and
  • an option to clear the form and start over.

The revised Form I-9 includes a number of other changes, such as:

  • The request for Other Names Used in Section 1 was changed to Other Last Names Used.
  • The ability to enter information for multiple preparers or translators that may have been used by an employee when completing Section 1.
  • A request for employers to provide Citizenship/Immigration Status in Section 2.
  • A dedicated space where employers can include additional information instead of having to use the margins.
  • Unlike the prior version, instructions for completing Form I-9 have been separated from the form itself.

Despite these changes, other aspects of the authorization process have not changed. For example:

  • Employers must complete Form I-9 within three business days of the date employment begins.
  • Employers must retain completed Form I-9’s for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later. Completed forms are not filed with USCIS.
  • Employers cannot specify which document(s) they will accept from an employee.
  • Employers cannot discriminate against employees during the Form I-9 process.

Though Form I-9 was revised to make things easier, confusion always seems to accompany change. To avoid costly penalties, employers must take steps now to make sure the revised Form I-9 is being properly used by January 22, 2017.

Additional information about various employment related liabilities is available in The Human Equation's library of Human Resources online courses. Please contact us if you would like more information about implementing an employee training program.

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The Human Equation prepares all risk management and insurance content with the professional guidance of Setnor Byer Insurance and Risk.


8/24/2018 4:02:17 PM #

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