Employers have enough to worry about when hiring and onboarding new employees, but starting September 18, 2017 a new requirement is on the horizon. For any new hire, employers must complete a revised Form I-9, which is intended to document verification of the identity and employment authorization.
On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) issued a revised Form I-9. This new form does contain the "07/17/2017" date and it must be used by September 18, 2017, but you can begin using the form immediately. USCIS has authorized a grace period during which either the new version of this form or the last version may be used. Following the end of the grace period (September 18, 2017), all employers are required to use the new Form I-9 for all new hires.
Employers should only complete the new Form I-9 for new hires and current employees requiring reverification. This form can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9
What changes were made?
- This form was updated to include only one substantive change. A new List C Document on page 3 was added as an acceptable document – a Consular Report of Birth for a U.S. citizen who was born abroad.
- Two minor changes to the form were that all certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) are combined into List C, #2 and the documents listed in List C, aside from Social Security card, have been renumbered.
- The instructions have also been modified. There are fifteen (15) pages of instructions that are far more detailed and comprehensive than previous versions.
Of particular use for employers is that there is a newly revised version of the M-274: Handbook for Employers, available online at http://www.uscis.gov. This Handbook is very comprehensive and any employer who has any questions or issues regarding the completion of an I-9 should copy and review this helpful Handbook.
I-9 Compliance Tips
From a compliance perspective, this would also be a good time to revisit your I-9 compliance training programs, including your storage and retention policies. Some recommendations include:
- Conduct an internal I-9 audit.
- Retrain all necessary personnel on how to complete I-9 forms.
- Know your inspection obligations (must produce the form within 3 business days of the date of request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or other government agency).
- Keep all I-9 forms in a separate file (separate from personnel records).
- Purge old/obsolete I-9 records (later of 3 years after the employee began work or 1 year from the date employment was terminated).
- Consider signing up for E-Verify.
Some other helpful I-9 reminders include:
- The I-9 may be presented either at the same time a written job offer is made, or after the written job offer is accepted. Do not give out the I-9 form at the same time as a job application as that could potentially give rise to a discrimination claim if the applicant is not hired.
- The employee must fill out Section 1 of the I-9 no later than the first day of employment. In fact, get it completed before the first day of employment to avoid any complications or delays.
- The employer must complete Section 2 of the I-9 no later than the 4th day of employment.
- The employer must verify original documents are submitted- digitally scanned, copies or faxed documents are not permitted.
- Make sure the form is completely answered and signed by both the employee and employer in the appropriate spots.
- For re-hires within the past 3 years, the employer does not need to complete a new I-9. The employer only needs to fill in Section 3. If a new I-9 form has been issued since the original hire, then Section 3 on the new I-9 form should be completed and stapled to the old one.