New version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, will be effective beginning May 7, 2013, Employers must use the new Form I-9

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(Newsletter Vol. XXIII, no. 06, April 24, 2013, Issue No. 2)

On March 8, 2013 we published an article about the New Version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification and Revised Handbook for Employers for Completing the Form I-9Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States, this includes citizens and non-citizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers, such as authorized U.S. Government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, or Department of Justice.

What are the changes ? 

The old Form I-9, which was a one-page document, has been expanded to two pages, except the instructions. The new form has added certain fields in Section 1. Part 1 of page 1 of the updated Form concerns “Employee Information and Attestation”  and it must be completed by employees and they have to sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of employment, but not before accepting a job offer. The newly created page 2, Section 2 has “Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification” and  “Re-verification and Rehires ” in Section 3. The Form now requests that employees provide their foreign passport information (where applicable), telephone number, and email address, although the latter two fields are optional only.

What does this mean to an employer ? 

Employers must use the new I-9 form beginning from May 7, 2013 for newly hired employees and for employees whose employment requires re-verification. Employers do not need to complete new forms for existing employees whose employment does not require re-verification. However,  the previously completed forms should be retained as part of the normal record keeping process.
Legal counsel should be sought to ensure that the employer has implemented the appropriate mechanisms for compliance with USCIS’ most recent I-9 revisions, and any other compliance issues.
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