Aug 17, 2017

Employers beware: New Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification required as of Sept. 18, 2017

The purpose of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) is to verify the identity and eligibility of individuals seeking to work in the United States. All employers are required to complete an I-9 for every individual they hire to provide labor or services in exchange for wages or other compensation. There are a few exceptions. I-9’s are not required for employees hired prior to Nov. 6, 1986, for casual domestic workers, for independent contractors or for employees working outside of the United States.

As of Sept. 18, 2017, all employers are required to use the newly revised version of the I-9 that was released on July 17, 2017, by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for all new employees and all eligibility reverifications.

The most significant revisions to the new I-9 were made to Section C which covers documents that are acceptable to establish an employee’s employment authorization. The USCIS added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to the existing list of acceptable forms. Form FS-240 establishes proof of citizenship for individuals who were born outside of the United States as a child of a U.S. citizen. Other revisions were cosmetic, including combining certifications of birth that were issued by the Department of State into one category and renumbering Section C of the form.

Additional changes were made to the Instruction section of the I-9 including renaming the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section. Also, the words, “the end of” were eliminated from the phrase “the first day of employment.”

The bad news is employers who fail to use the new I-9 beginning on Sept. 18, 2017, are subject to fines of over $2,000 per form. The good news is that if you need guidance in completing the newly revised I-9, the USCIS updated its Handbook for Employers M-274 (the Handbook). This Handbook provides step-by-step guidance to employers on how to complete the I-9 in order to verify employment eligibility.

For more information or to access the revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification or the Handbook for Employers M-274, click here. Contact one of the members of Chuhak & Tecson’s Employment Law Group for assistance completing the form or to answer any questions you may have about verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.  

This Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. communication is intended only to provide information regarding developments in the law and information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute advice regarding legal problems and should not be relied upon as such.

Client alert authored by: Amy T. Grace, Principal

This alert originally appeared in the August 2017 Employment Focus newsletter.