Employers Must Prepare for the New Form I-9

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") has published a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9, which employers may immediately start using. Beginning on May 7, 2013, employers must use the new form. Until then, the government has provided employers with a grace period during which they may continue to use the old form or may switch to the new form, at their option. Failure to use the new form after May 7, 2013, however, may result in large fines for employers.

The new form is two pages and includes additional data fields for employees to complete. Specifically, the form asks for the employee's telephone number, email address, and foreign passport number. While an employee is not required to provide his/her telephone number and email address, the form does not state this fact. Employers may want to consider whether to advise employees who are completing the form that such information is optional. The information employers are required to provide under the new form is the same as required under the old Form I-9. USCIS also has released a new Handbook for Employers, known as the M-274, which provides even more expansive guidance on completing the new Form I-9.

The new Form I-9 must be completed for all new hires as well as for re-verifying current employees with expiring employment authorization documentation beginning May 7, 2013. It is not necessary to complete a new Form I-9 for existing employees who do not require re-verification. Employers should ensure that their human resources staff are trained on the new Form I-9 prior to May 7 to ensure that the transition to the new form is as seamless as possible. The new Form I-9, the M-274 Handbook, and additional guidance are currently available on the USCIS website, www.uscis.gov.

For more information about the revised Form I-9, feel free to contact the author or any member of the Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits practice.