The federal government on Friday issued the long-awaited new version of the I-9 form used to verify the eligibility of employees and job seekers to work in the United States.
Memo to employers – now is the time to familiarize yourself with the many new elements of the revised form.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published the new form (available at www.uscis.gov) and is encouraging employers to use it immediately. Employers may continue to use the old I-9 Form up until May 7, but must then switch to the new Form I-9 for each new employee hired in the United States or face financial penalties.
The latest Form I-9 contains new data fields and a new format that should help employers reduce errors. The format has also been expanded to two pages so that Section 1 (Employee Information and Attestation) takes up the entire first page, and Sections 2 and 3 (Employer Authorization and Reverification) are on the second page. The instructions have also been updated to describe the information employees and employers must provide in each section.
AIM participated in a USCIS conference call yesterday that identified a number of concerns for employers as they begin to adopt the new Form I-9. Some of the more important ones included:
• Which documents are acceptable?
• What must an employer do when the employee produces a receipt?
• Which parts of the I-9 are voluntary and which parts are mandatory?
• When can you fill out an I-9 relative to an employee’s start date?
• How should you handle abbreviations?
Employers should take steps now to ensure that they are prepared to use the newly-revised form after May 7. It’s also a good opportunity to review all of your company I-9 forms to ensure that they meet standards for compliance.