Yes, once again changes have been made to the Form I-9 and employers must comply by September 18, 2017. The Department of Homeland Security and its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires every employer to complete this form for each new hire to verify identity and authorization to work in the U.S. Here is what you need to know…

You must use the new Form I-9

Even though the current Form I-9 says it expires 08/31/2019 (found at the top right), that Form will no longer be valid as of September 18th. The new Form, which also expires 08/31/2019, has a date of 07/17/17 printed at the bottom of each page. This is the form you must use for all new hires moving forward. You can access the new Form I-9 here.

If you complete the Form I-9 via computer, please be sure to access the updated form. If you use E-Verify, these changes will be reflected in the process.

You do not need to change existing employee forms

A new Form I-9 does not mean you have to go back and change the forms of all existing employees. If you need to correct or update an employee’s Form I-9 per USCIS guidelines and you cannot make these corrections or updates on the existing Form, the newest Form I-9 may be used and kept with the older Form.

Know what has changed

The most important changes have been made to the “List of Acceptable Documents”. These are the documents that the employee must bring to the employer for review and to record in Section 2 of the From I-9 to verify identity and employment authorization. The “List of Acceptable Documents” can be found on page 3 of the printed Form I-9. The Good news is List A and List B have remained the same!

List C Changes

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad FS-240 was added to #2 as an acceptable document.
  • Previous #2 and #3 on List C have been combined in the new #2 to now read “Certification of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Forms DS-1350, FS-545, FS-240)”.
  • Due to the combination of previous #2 and #3, the List changed from 8 to 7.

Subtle Changes

There are two minor changes in the Instructions for Form I-9 documentation. This is a separate document from the actual form.

  • The name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices changed to Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (which is in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division).
  • The phrase “the end of the first day of employment” is now changed to “the first day of employment”.

Penalties

It is always important to make sure all employment practices are legally compliant. The Form I-9 and its requirements tend to give small business owners some trouble. However, non-compliance can lead to civil fines, criminal penalties, debarment from government contracts, and court orders to hire discriminated individuals and provide back pay.

Summary

Although these changes seem minor, it is extremely important for all employers to use the newest version of the Form I-9 and accept the specified documentation. It is also important for all employers to follow set rules including that of storage and retention. When in doubt, contact an HR professional who can walk you through the process and even conduct an I-9 audit.

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