Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification)

I recently received an email from our attorney, notifying me that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has revised the Form I-9.  The new form went into effect on March 8, 2013, but employers have a 60-day grace period in which to start using it.  For the time being, we can use either the old or new version of the form, but as of May 7, 2013, only the new version is acceptable. 

For those who are unsure, the Form I-9 is the Employment Eligibility Verification Form.  It is the form that must be completed jointly by every new employee and the employer or an authorized representative of the employer.  The I-9 verifies that the employee has the right to work legally in the U.S.  If you have an employee, you must have an I-9 for that employee.

The major changes on the new form are:

  • New data fields, including the phone number, email address, and the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable);
  • Expanded form instructions; and
  • Revised form layout that expands the form from one to two pages. 

The new I-9 is divided into 3 sections:

  • Section 1 is the Employee Information and Attestation.  The employee must complete and sign this form no later than the first day of employment.  However, this section should never be completed before the employee has accepted a job offer, to reduce the potential for job.  Similarly, the employer cannot specify which document(s) they will accept from an employee.
  • Section 2 is the Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification.  The employer (or representative) must complete and sign this section after the employee completes Section 1 and within 3 business days of the employee's first day of employment. You must physically examine and, on the form, document the information from the document(s) the employee presents to verify employment eligibility.  You do not have to make a photocopy of the employee’s document(s), but if you do that for one employee, you must do it for all employees (and that documentation must remain with the I-9).  The employer must also attest that the document(s) provided appear to be genuine and relate to the employee.
  • Section 3 is for Reverification and Rehires.  This section is only used if you rehire an individual within 3 years of their last day of employment with you or if one of the documents that the individual initially provided has an expiration date that occurs during that individual’s employment.  This reverification requirement is only necessary for certain types of documentation.

 There is no fee for completing Form I-9. The form is not filed with any government agency, but must be retained by the employer and made available for inspection by U.S. Government officials. The form must be retained for as long as the individual works for you and either 3 years after the date of hire or 1 year after the date employment ended, whichever is later.

The new I-9 contains 6 pages of instructions.  Be sure to read them thoroughly so that you understand what you can and cannot or must and must not do.  Once you understand the requirements, be sure that every individual who may be completing this form with a new employee thoroughly understands the requirements as well.  Forms completed incorrectly or not completed thoroughly could expose your program to lawsuits and/or fines….which definitely makes your time in understanding the requirements time well-spent.

If you need a way to track your personnel paperwork to make sure nothing slips through the cracks, check out our Personnel File Checklist.

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