U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has annouced the release of a new version of the Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9, which is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired to work in the United States. Employers and Human Resources staff may begin using this new Form I-9 or continue to use the current version of the Form I-9 (dated 11/14/16 N) through September 17, 2017. Beginning September 18, 2017, employers must use the new form.
The revised form includes some cosmetic changes, along with changes related to acceptable I-9 verification documentation, including Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. USCIS plans to update its M-274 “Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9” in the near future.
This change, in addition to the recent increase in penalties for employment verification errors, are of significant importance to employers and Human Resources departments, as all U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire. More importantly, as the workforce compliance landscape continues to evolve, employers should take this opportunity to evaluate their current I-9 policies and procedures to ensure they are in compliance with the latest I-9 and E-Verify rules. As part of this process, employers should:
- Review current I-9 policies and practices with qualified counsel. This includes careful analysis of all workforce compliance practices to mitigate errors and mistakes on the form;
- Develop formal I-9 and E-Verify protocols for detecting, preventing, and improving against I-9 violations;
- Mitigate historical I-9s with qualified counsel to help avoid against fines and penalties for certain technical or procedural errors on the forms;
- Develop, implement, and maintain compliance policies for worksite raids.
For any questions on employment eligibility or workforce compliance issues, please feel free to contact us.