Do You Have Your I-9 Ducks In A Row?

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Starting May 7, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will accept only the new version of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form.  You may recall that on March 7, 2013, the USCIS  announced that employers should begin using the new version of the I-9 form immediately, but allowed sixty days for employers to update their processes.  The new form bears a revision date of “(Rev. 03/08/13)N” and is available for download on the USCIS website.   

The I-9 has three sections.  Section 1 collects information from the employee concerning his or her identity and work authorization.  Section 2 collects information from the employer, including the identity and work authorization documents presented by the employee.  Section 3 addresses rehires and reverifications. 

The primary changes to the I-9 are:  

  1.  additional data fields for employee telephone, email address and foreign passport number, if applicable;
  2.  improved instructions, including additional information concerning acceptable verification documents; and
  3.  a revised layout which expands the form from one to two pages (not including the instructions and lists of acceptable documents).   

What has not changed, and has always been the rule, is that employers must allow employees to choose which permissible documents to present to establish identity and authorization to work. In reference to the I-9 Form, Column A documents establish both identity and employment authorization.  Column B documents establish identity; and column C documents establish employment authorization. 

It is important that employers not complete the new form for existing employees who already have an I-9 on file unless reverification applies.  Unnecessarily reverifying an employee’s I-9 could violate the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

 There is a great deal of useful information available for employers at the Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices website.   The Special Counsel offers an Employer Hotline at 1-800-255-8155, where employers can obtain further instructions from an Equal Opportunity Specialist.  The USCIS website also offers employers access to free webinars  concerning I-9 forms and E-Verify.  The USCIS website has a Spanish-language version  of the I-9 form.  Although the Spanish-language version of the form is available for use only in Puerto Rico, employers can use the form to assist Spanish-speaking employees in completing the I-9 form. 

If you need help with the new I-9 form, the employment lawyers at Sands Anderson, P.C. are available to assist you.