U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that employers should continue using the current version of Form I-9 even after the expiration date on the form of August 31, 2012 has passed. The agency recently proposed several revisions to Form I-9 and stated it will provide updated information about the new version of the Form I-9 as it becomes available. With the I-9 back in the news again, now is the perfect time to go over some tips and best practices to keep your business I-9 compliant should the government surprise you with an audit. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported five times as many audits in the last three years compared to 2008 and more than $9 million in fines for I-9 violations.
USCIS Proposed Revisions to Form I-9
The new Form I-9 will most likely be 80 percent larger than the current version, increasing the form from a five-page document to nine pages. Key revisions under review on the I-9 form include:
- Expanded instructions and a revised layout.
- Optional data fields to collect the employee’s email address and telephone number.
- New data fields to collect the foreign passport number and country of issuance (for aliens authorized to work in the U.S. who have also recorded their I-94 admission number on Form I-9).
USCIS will post information regarding a new Form I-9 on I-9 Central once the form has been finalized. Until a new version is approved and posted, employers must continue to use the current version of the I-9 form even after August 31, 2012.
Form I-9: Who, What and When
Federal law requires employers to hire only individuals who may legally work in the United States… either U.S. citizens or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. To comply with the law, employers must verify the identity and employment authorization of each person they hire by completing and retaining Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
Form I-9 consists of three sections:
1. Employees complete Section 1, Employee Information and Verification.
Newly hired employees must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of work for pay. Employers may have employees complete Form I-9:
On the first day of work for pay.
Before the first day of work, if the employer has offered the individual a job and if the prospective employee has accepted it.
Employees can have help completing Section 1, including using a translator. Employees must sign the form even if a preparer or translator helps them. The preparer or translator who helps the employee must provide his or her name, address, and signature, and date the form.
2. Employers/agricultural recruiters-and-referrers-for-a-fee complete Section 2, Employer Review and Verification.
Employers must complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9 within three business days of the employee’s first day of work for pay. For example, if the employee started work for pay on Monday, the employer must complete Section 2 by Thursday of that week. If the job lasts less than three days, the employer must complete Section 2 no later than the first day of work for pay.
3. If necessary, employers may complete Section 3, Updating and Reverification, when:
- An employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired.
- An employee is rehired within three years of the date that Form I-9 was originally completed.
- An employee changes his or her name.
Employers should not reverify:
- U.S. citizens
- Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who presented a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) for Section 2
- List B documents
Acceptable Form I-9 Documents
An employee must show documentation to his/her employer to show their identity and authorization to work. Employers must examine the documentation employees present to complete Section 2 of Form I-9. Employers are not required to be document experts; however, they must accept documents that reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them.
There are 3 kinds of documents that can be presented to an employer to verify an employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States.
List A Documents:
The documents on List A show both identity and employment authorization. Employees presenting a List A document should not be asked to present any other document.
List B Documents:
The documents on List B show identity only. Employees who choose to present a List B document must also present a document from List C for Section 2.
List C Documents:
The documents in List C show employment authorization only. Employees who choose to present a List C document must also provide a document from List B for Section 2.