New Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9

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.

Immigration & Employment Verification Fines Drastically Increasing

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that beginning August 1, 2016 they will increase the penalties for unlawfully employing immigrants, unfair employment practices tied to immigration, and for so-called “paperwork violations” on Forms I-9.

The new rule will enhance Form I-9 paperwork violations from a maximum of $1,100 to $2,156 per violation, and a minimum from $110 to $216.  The minimum penalty for employing undocumented individuals will increase from $375 to $539, while the maximum will go from $3,200 to $4,313.  Employers with multiple violations will face a new maximum penalty of $21,563 for unlawfully employing immigrants.  For unfair immigration-related employment practices, a first fine could cost as much as $3,563 per person discriminated against.

These new penalties will take effect on August 1st and apply to all violations that took place after November 2, 2015.