This week, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an updated I-9 Form on its website, which can be accessed here.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act prohibits employers from hiring people without first identifying their identity and employment authorization. The I-9 Form is the mechanism to achieve that. Employers are required to complete the I-9 Form within three days of the first day of work for all new hires.
By January 22, 2017, all employers will need to be using the revised form for all new hires. Until then, employers can either continue to use the current version, which is dated 03/08/2013, or they can use the new version. The version date is located at the bottom left corner of the form.
Among the changes in the new version, Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and makes certification for certain foreign nationals simpler.
Other changes include:
- The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
- The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
- A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.
- A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.
- The separation of the instruction page from the form.
The revised version is now easier to complete electronically, as well, with such things as drop down lists and calendars for fill in dates.
Usually the USCIS issuing a new I-9 Form wouldn’t necessarily be blogworthy (noteworthy yes, but not blogworthy). However, with the recent election of Mr. Trump, many in the legal community foresee an increase in I-9 audits and other enforcement actions such as raids by governmental agencies. It is interesting to note that the USCIS is issuing a revised I-9 Form that must be used by employers right after President-elect Trump’s inauguration. (The timing is most likely just coincidental, but interesting nevertheless.).
Failure of employers to complete I-9 Forms or to incorrectly complete them (technical errors) can lead to substantial fines. With the new administration likely to make this a priority, employers should ensure that they are not only using the new form but also self-auditing their I-9 Forms in anticipation of the potential for audits.