By Roger Tsai
This week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of its Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification form. All U.S. employers must begin using the new Form I-9 after January 22, 2017.
Currently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts over 3,000 I-9 employer audits annually, and immigration enforcement is anticipated to increase due to the Trump presidency. In January, Holland & Hart will host a webinar explaining the changes to the Form I-9 and discussing what immigration reforms employers should expect in a Trump presidency.
Form I-9 Changes
The new version of the Form I-9 includes some clarifications as well as some changes designed to make the form easier to fill out electronically. Completing the Form I-9 electronically will require downloading the latest version of Adobe Reader. Form I-9s completed electronically will still need to be printed and signed by the employee and employer agent by hand. One of the changes is in Section 1 which now asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used.”
Enhancements for easier completion of the form include drop-down lists and calendars for entering dates, the addition of prompts to help ensure that information is entered properly, on-screen instructions for each field, and easy access to the full instructions. It also includes an option to clear the form and start over. Other changes you’ll find on the new I-9 include:
- Question regarding whether a preparer or translator was used
- Space to enter multiple preparers and translators
- A supplemental page for the preparer/translator
- Creation of a QR code once the Form I-9 is completed electronically
- A field to enter additional information such as E-Verify confirmation numbers, termination dates and correction notes, and
- Separating the full instructions from the form itself.
Reminder of I-9 Process
As you may know, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), prohibits employers from hiring employees, including U.S. citizens, without first verifying their identity and checking that they have proper authorization to work in the United States. The Form I-9 ensures that you have completed this necessary verification for all new hires. The proper timing and process for completing Form I-9s for each newly hired employee is:
- Employee accepts offer for employment.
- Employee completes Section 1 of the I-9 form no later than the first day of work for pay.
- Employee provided documents showing identity and employment authorization to employer.
- Employer completes Section 2 of the I-9 form no later than the third business day after the employee starts work for pay.
What You Need To Do
You have just over two months to switch to the new Form I-9, so it is best to put procedures in place now to make that switch for all new hires to ensure compliance.