An updated version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, was issued in July of this year. However, businesses are now required by law to use it.
The Form I-9 is utilized by employers to validate employment eligibility and should be completed for any current employee hired by the company after November 6, 1986, and held on file for previous employees for the longer of the two: one year from termination or three years from hire. September 18, 2017 was the effective date and businesses must now begin using the new form.
With small changes being made, one thing that will not change is how the Form I-9 needs to be stored. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), if you use electronic storage, which most companies in 2017 will likely be using, your storage system must:
- Include controls to ensure the integrity, accuracy and reliability of the electronic generation storage system.
- Include controls to detect and prevent the unauthorized or accidental creation of, addition to, alteration of, deletion of or deterioration of an electronically completed stored Form I-9, including the electronic signature, if used.
- Include controls to ensure an audit trail so that any alteration or change to the form since its creation is electronically stored and can be accessed by an appropriate government agency inspecting the forms.
- Include an inspection and quality assurance program that regularly evaluates the electronic generation or storage system, and includes periodic checks of electronically stored Form I-9, including the electronic signature, if used.
- Include a detailed index of all data so that any particular record can be accessed immediately.
- Produce a high degree of legibility and readability when displayed on a video display terminal or reproduced on paper.
Besides a few small changes to the list of acceptable documents and technical changes, here are other revisions from USCIS:
Revisions to the I-9 instructions:
- The name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices is changed to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
- The form will remove “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment.”
Revisions related to the I-9's List of Acceptable Documents:
- Added: the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Section 2 and Section 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.
- Combined: all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350 and Form FS-240) into selection C#2 in List C.
- Renumbered: all List C documents except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C will change from List C #8 to List C #7.
If your company has not started using this new form by now they could face notable fines. The U.S. Department of Justice announced increases in fines for Form I-9 violations last year, as well as these below:
- Civil fines
- Criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations)
- Debarment from government contracts
- A court order requiring the payment of back pay to the discriminated individual
- A court order requiring the employer to hire the discriminated individual
A PDF version of the updated I-9 Form can be found here.