On July 17, 2017 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of Form I-9. Employers may continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of November 14, 2016 through September 17, 2017 while continuing to following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9. By September 18, 2017, employers must use the new revised form.
Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. Within three business days of the employee’s hire date, all employers with very few exceptions must ensure proper completion of their Form I-9. (These employers are exempt from the Form I-9 regulations.) Completion of this form includes collection, examination and verification of acceptable documents. The list of acceptable documents is provided with the Form I-9 instructions. In addition, there are guidelines for reverification and retention of the documents.
Unlike other forms an employee fills out on their first day, failure to complete this form correctly and comply with the regulations could result in fines and penalties. Employers who violate the Form I-9 regulations may be subject to:
- Civil fines ranging from $216 to $2,156 just for failing to comply with the verification requirements
- Criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations)
- Debarment from government contracts
- A court order requiring the payment of back pay to the individual discriminated against
- A court order requiring the employer to hire the individual discriminated against
Implementation of this new form is a great time for employers to review compliance with the regulations. This is also the ideal time to make any necessary changes to ensure the process to complete Form I-9 including inspection of documents, the method to track forms that need re-reverification and the system to store documents are up-to-date and in compliance with the regulations.
The July 17, 2017 revisions to the I-9 Form include:
- The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration – Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) has been updated to its new name, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).
- Section 2 instructions have been updated by removing the phrase “the end of” and will now read: “Employers or their authorized representative must complete and sign Section 2 within 3 business days of the employee’s first day of employment.”
- The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240), which is issued to certain employees born overseas to a U.S. citizen parent, has been added to List C of Acceptable Documents, as well as all birth certificates issued by the State Department (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350 and Form FS-240).
The USCIS’s website has excellent resources including a revised handbook and videos to train employers to comply with the regulations.
For further assistance with Form I-9 compliance, contact our HR Consulting team today.