Heads Up—Deadline for Using New I-9 Forms Approaching

Posted on January 18, 2017
Posted in I-9
Virginia Employer Law Blog

the situation

Back in November, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) published a revised version of Form I-9, the tool employers must use in connection with establishing the eligibility of individuals for employment under the Immigration Reform and Control Act.  Employers must switch over to the new version of the form by January 22, 2017 or could find themselves in trouble.

the ruling

The new form is not hugely different from the previous version–however, the bottom line is that the new form needs to be completed for all new hires in order to assure compliance.   One of the benefits of the new form is that it is meant to be easier to complete on a computer, as it includes new features such as drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on-screen instructions for each field, and an option to clear the entire form and start over.

Some of the changes in the new form are modifications meant to streamline certification for certain foreign nationals, a change from a request for “other names used” to “other last names used,” the ability to enter multiple preparers and translators, and a dedicated area for including additional information instead of having to try to fit this information in the margins.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the requirement that the employer representative verifying employment eligibility be in the physical presence of the person being verified and actually see the original documents offered for verification purposes.  This requirement remains, much to some employers’ disappointment, and using FaceTime, Skype or any other remote technology to review documents with a new hire is still not permissible.

the point

The proper completion of I-9 forms can be a challenge for some employers—after all, there are a variety of technical requirements and any deviation can result in a potential violation.  Employers need to make sure that each worksite at which employment eligibility will be verified is equipped with and using the new Form I-9 for each and every new hire.

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