Effective January 22, 2017, employers must use the revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to verify the identity and work eligibility of every new employee. Until January 21, employers may continue using the current Form I-9 last revised on March 3, 2013. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") added several enhancements to the revised Form I-9 including:
- A "smart" feature in the PDF version to help employers reduce technical errors when completing the form on the computer after downloading it from the USCIS website;
- Certain fields will now give an error message when the entered data does not have the correct number of characters (i.e., social security number or date of birth);
- Drop-down lists and calendars have been added for entering dates; and,
- A quick-response matrix barcode ("QR code") will be generated once the form is printed to assist in streamlining audit processes.
Employers should also be aware that under new regulations by the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") that became effective January 17, 2017, if an individual's employment authorization is due to expire, employers must re-verify their Form I-9 no later than the date of expiration of their current employment authorization to reflect the individual is still work-authorized in the U.S. in order to continue his or her employment. For persons presenting employment authorization documents ("EAD") for I-9, reverification applies upon the expiration of the automatically extended validity period for the EAD and not the expiration date indicated on the face of the EAD. We expect DHS to issue further guidance on this issue soon in the form of a revised M-274, Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing Form I-9. Also, USCIS is hosting a teleconference on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EST to discuss the revised Form I-9. USCIS will review the form's enhancements, discuss employment eligibility verification best practices, and answer questions about each section of the form. You may sign up for this teleconference on the USCIS website.
The Form I-9 is a notoriously difficult form to execute properly, and yet errors can result in hefty penalties for employers. Iandoli Desai & Cronin offers internal I-9 Audits and training sessions to ensure your company is compliant. If you would like more information and/or have questions concerning I-9 procedures and enforcement actions, please contact the attorneys at Iandoli Desai & Cronin at firstname.lastname@example.org.