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Understanding the new Form I-9 and What It Means for HR Compliance

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued an updated Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification, with a few minor yet important changes. Let’s quickly go through what you need to know and how you can best adjust to the changes in question.

When is this new Form I-9 going into effect?

Employers must transition to the new I-9 by May 1, 2020, according to an official Jan. 31 announcement from USCIS. The new form is dated Oct. 21, 2019, at the bottom of each page.

What are the changes I need to know about in the revised I-9?

The relevant changes are:

  • Updated guidance on who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer: The representative can be any person the employer designates to fill out an I-9 for them. Note that employers are still liable for all violations committed on the form and during the verification process (e.g., breaking employer sanctions laws), including those attributable to an authorized representative.
  • Acceptable documents update: USCIS has tweaked the section of the Form I-9 that lists which documents are acceptable for establishing identity, providing some clarification on the specific items that can be used.
  • New options on computer-filled I-9s: When selecting countries for the Country of Issuance and Issuing Authority fields on a computerized I-9, Eswatini and North Macedonia are now selectable options, corresponding to the recent alterations of those nations’ official names.
  • Revised website addresses: Links to the USCIS website have been changed to reflect the correct URLs associated with I-9s.
  • New DHS privacy policy: The fresh I-9 is also accompanied by an updated DHS privacy policy.
  • Changed Spanish form: A revised I-9 in Spanish is now available, too, for use in Puerto Rico only.
  • Process for requesting a paper I-9: There are some different steps for acquiring a paper copy of the new Form I-9.

What are the stakes for using the correct Form I-9?

It’s important for employers to switch over to the new form as soon as possible. Relying on the old form is a major HR compliance risk. In recent years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ramped up the penalties for I-9 violations and gotten additional funding for workplace inspections. The result has been a record number of enforcement actions and financial penalties between 2017 and 2019.

What can my company do to simplify I-9 compliance?

Automating your employee verification process using the CIC Plus I-9 Management System can help ensure changes like the new Form I-9 are implemented on time and distribution throughout your organization to avoid any compliance risks. Contact our team today to take a closer look at our I-9 service.

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