Time to Switch to New Version of I-9

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has updated the well-known Employment Eligibility Verification form, or Form I-9.  Employers should begin using the new form immediately.   After May 7, 2013, employers who fail to use the new Form I–9 may be subject to penalties.  More after the break.

Longstanding federal law requires that every employer hiring an individual for employment in the United States complete Form I-9.   Form I-9 must also be used by agricultural associations, agricultural employers, or farm labor contractors when hiring, and recruiting or referring for a fee.  Employers must make completed forms available for inspection by authorized U.S. Government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, or Department of Justice.

On March 8, 2013, the USCIS released the new form via a notice  in the Federal Register.  The new form is designated by the revision date “03/08/13” on the lower left corner of the document.  Key changes to the new Form I-9 include:

• Adding data fields, including the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable) and telephone and email addresses;

• Improving the form’s instructions; and

• Revising the layout of the form, expanding the form from one to two pages.

Employers should begin using the new form immediately, however, there is a grace period until May 7, 2013, for employers to convert their documentation.  After May 7, 2013, federal authorities will not accept prior versions of Form I-9.  In that event, an employer may be treated as having failed to complete Form I-9 altogether, and may be non-compliant with the federal employment eligibility statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1324a.  Penalties for non-compliance include the imposition of monetary fines.

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