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Executive Summary: After a lengthy delay and extensive comment period, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released today a revised Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13 N). Employers may download the new form by visiting the USCIS web site at: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf. The government has made several significant changes to the Form I-9, which must be used by all employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of new hires to confirm they are authorized to work in the United States. Although prior versions of the Form I-9 will remain valid for use until May 7, 2013, we encourage employers to begin using the revised form immediately.
Key Changes in The New Form
USCIS highlighted three key changes to the Form I-9 that it said are designed to minimize errors in completing the form. They are:
What Employers Should Do Now
All employers should understand the impact of the changes and become familiar with the new Form I-9. While employers generally are encouraged to begin using the new Form I-9 right away, USCIS has heeded pleas for a transition period from employers for whom immediate use of the form would not be possible. Such employers include those that will need to update their internal business processes and train staff, as well as users of electronic I-9 systems that will have to be modified to conform to the new form's content and design changes. Employers have sixty days before they must begin using the 03/08/13 version of the Form I-9 exclusively. Prior versions of the Forms dated 02/02/09 and 08/07/09 will be accepted until May 7, 2013.
Please note that use of the revised Form I-9 is prospective – that is for new hires moving forward from today. Employers do not need to "re-do" the Form I-9s for existing employees already completed and on file. Excessive or unnecessary verification of existing employees may bring an employer under Department of Justice scrutiny for a violation of antidiscrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
What To Look Out For In The Future
The release of the new Form I-9 comes amidst growing political discourse over comprehensive immigration reform, a potential federal mandate that would require use of the electronic E-Verify system by more employers, and reported changes by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to convert to paperless I-94 Cards, which would eliminate a document commonly presented by employment-authorized temporary workers in the I-9 process. FordHarrison will continue to monitor these developments and the potential implications for employers.
If you have any questions regarding the revised Form I-9 or have other business immigration questions, please contact an attorney in our Business Immigration Practice Group, or the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.
Topics: Eligibility, Hiring & Firing, I-9, USCIS
Immigration Law Updates, Labor & Employment Law Updates