Attention Employers: Current Form I-9 valid until Jan. 21, 2017
On Aug. 25, 2016 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. USCIS must publish a revised form by Nov. 22, 2016.
The new Form I-9 will include a number of changes designed to make the form more "user-friendly" and eliminate mistakes in the Employment Eligibility Verification process.
These changes include the introduction of a 'smart' version of Form I-9 that can be accessed and completed on the USCIS website. The new Form, I-9 will resemble a more user-friendly PDF form with advanced drop-down options designed for easier form completion.
In addition, the new Form I-9 will include a Quick Response Code (QR Code) for each form that can be used to streamline the government audit process. Employers will still be required to print Form I-9, obtain the appropriate employee and employer representative signatures, and retain Form I-9 according to Form I-9 retention requirements.
Employers may continue using the current version of Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/31/2016 N until Jan. 21, 2017. After Jan. 21, 2017, all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid.
In light of the upcoming changes to Form I-9 and the recent increase in I-9 related fines and penalties, employers should take this opportunity to do 3 things to ensure I-9 compliance:
- Conduct an internal or external audit of at least a representative sampling of Form I-9s completed in the last three years, if such an audit has not been completed within the last five years, to evaluate existing employment authorization liability and identify existing compliance issues
- Schedule Form I-9 employment authorization training well in advance of January 22, 2017, for all HR personnel and all employees responsible for completion of Form I-9 on behalf of their employer
- Contact any I-9 employment authorization vendors who currently provide Form I-9 completion or retention services, to ensure their compliance with the upcoming form change deadline.
Employers who have not recently audited their I-9 records may already be subject to increased fines as noted below:
The "Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment" Final Rule took effect August 1, 2016, and significantly increased fines for Form I-9 errors. For the first offense, the maximum fine increased from $1,100 to $2,156 per Form I-9 violation. Fines for second and third offenses also increased significantly. The maximum penalty for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices increased from $3,200 to $3,563 per charge.
Repeat offenders face a new maximum penalty of $21,563. It is important to note that although the Rule became effective on August 1, 2016, the increase to Form I-9 fines applies to all violations that took place after November 2, 2015.