New Form I-9 released to all employers for use effective March 2013
On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. Employers should begin using the new Form I-9 with revision date March 8 immediately for all new hires.
Employers are legally required to verify an employee’s eligibility to work within the first days of employment. This is done through the I-9 form. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits can strike fear into the hearts of employers who have not kept accurate I-9 records for all employees. Even when trying diligently to get it right, there are many opportunities for errors, and legal consequences for getting it wrong. The new form provides expanded directions to support employers. Employers are required to document that their employees are eligible for work within the U.S. This employment verification process starts with the accurate completion of an I-9 form.
Employers should follow a consistent process to ensure that the I-9 forms are completed accurately for every employee. This will allow the employment verification process to be complete and serve to protect the employer from mistakes. Following are some guidelines and changes for completion.
• Provide the employee with the I-9 form and the document checklist. Ask the employee to complete Section 1. This step should happen on or before the first day of employment. If done before the start of hire, be sure to treat everyone the same in this regard.
• Receive the original documents from the employee (the forms of identification that are allowed are noted in the document checklist, which is part of the new form) and complete Section 2. Ideally, the employee and employer will sit together in person for this step. This needs to be completed within three (3) business days of the first day of work. If someone is hired for a timeframe of less than three (3) days, then the process should be completed on the first day.
• The employer is required to examine the received documents to ensure the documents relate to that employee and are allowed documents as per the document checklist. After that examination, the employer should review the form for accuracy and then sign it.
• The employer may choose to copy or not copy documents that the employee has presented. Just be sure to be consistent either way. If you do make copies, keep them with the I-9 form.
• File the I-9 form. These should be kept separately from all other personnel files. Sometimes employers keep separate I-9 filing systems for active employees versus former employees. This allows for easier purging of documents when applicable.
For a copy of the new form, go to: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf. For additional information, contact Beverly Purtell, senior vice president of human resource management, at firstname.lastname@example.org.