Verifying a new employee’s right to work in the United States is a crucial step in the hiring process. Employers must utilize the Employment Eligibility Verification form, commonly known as Form I-9, to verify the identity and right to work of all employees hired in the United States after November 6, 1986.
Last month, the United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised version of Form I-9 as part of an ongoing effort to streamline the employment eligibility verification process and reduce fraud. The new Form I-9 is available on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/i-9.
Employers must use the new Form I-9 with all employees hired on or after May 7, 2013. Employees must completed, sign and date section 1 of Form I-9 by their first day of employment, but not before accepting their offer of employment. Employers must complete, sign and date section 2 of the form by the employee’s fourth day of employment. Employers must complete section 3 of the form only when they re-hire an employee or re-verify an employee’s right to work after a previous authorization has expired.
The new Form I-9 is nine pages long, consisting of six pages of instructions, the form itself, and the List of Acceptable Documents, which identifies the documents employees can provide to establish their eligibility to work. Employers should provide the Form I-9 instructions and the List of Acceptable Documents to employees as they complete section 1 of the form. Employees may not use expired documents to establish their identity or right to work.
The new Form I-9 no longer permits employees to use a Post Office Box as an address, and allows use of an address outside the United States only by employees who commute to work from Canada or Mexico. Employees are not required to state their Social Security number on Form I-9 unless the employer uses the E-Verify system
While employers should begin to use the new Form I-9 by May 7, 2013 with any new employees that they may hire, they should not seek to re-verify the identity or right to work of existing employees by requiring existing employees to complete the new Form I-9. Requiring employees to re-confirm their identity and right to work in the United States in the absence of specific information calling into question the validity of documents utilized at the time of hire could be construed as discriminatory and should be avoided.
Employers who do not comply with the I-9 rules are subject to fines of up to $1,100 per form, as well as potential criminal liability in some circumstances.
Compliance with I-9 rules is an important step in the hiring process. If you have questions about Form I-9, or any other issue relating to employment law, please contact one of our attorneys:
Daniel F. Pyne III
Richard M. Noack
Ernest M. Malaspina
Erik P. Khoobyarian