Chamber Press Releases

Oct 10, 2016 — by: Chrystal Vaughan

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.