Starting August 1, 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented a revised version of the I-9 form, which is used by all U.S. employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of their employees. The changes in the new I-9 form bring updates aimed at streamlining the process and ensuring compliance with remote workers. Employers must be aware of these changes to maintain smooth and lawful hiring practices. In this blog, we will discuss the key points employers need to know about the new I-9 form.
Purpose and Importance of the I-9 Form
The I-9 form is an essential part of the employment eligibility verification process in the United States. All employers, regardless of size or industry, are required to complete an I-9 form for each newly hired employee. This process helps ensure that all individuals working in the country are authorized to do so, while also preventing discrimination in hiring. I-9 forms will still need to be completed within three days of employee’s hire.
Employers in good standing with E-Verify can conduct remote verifications, specific protocols must be followed. They are required to conduct a live video interview with the employee as part of the verification process. Additionally, these employers must retain copies of all documents presented during the I-9 verification procedure and create E-Verify cases for new employees. In the new form, there is now a checkbox that the I-9 form has been verified using a DHS-authorized process.
You can find the new I-9 form here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
Changes in the New I-9 Form:
1. Consolidated Sections 1 and 2: The new form is now a single-sided sheet, where multiple fields have been merged into fewer sections, simplifying the completion process without eliminating any previous fields.
2. Moved Section for Preparer/Translator Certification (Supplement A): To streamline the form, the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area has been moved to a standalone supplement. Employers can provide Supplement A to employees when necessary.
3. Moved Section for Reverification and Rehire: Similarly, the Section 3 Reverification and Rehire area is now in a separate supplement (Supplement B). Employers can print this supplement when rehire occurs or reverification is required and add more supplement sheets as required.
4. Terminology Clarification: The use of “alien authorized to work” in Section 1 has been updated to “noncitizen authorized to work.” Additionally, the distinction between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work” has been clarified, ensuring better accuracy in identifying the employment status of individuals.
5. Mobile Device Compatibility: The form is now optimized for tablets and mobile devices, enabling easy and efficient completion on these platforms.
6. Improved Downloading: Certain features have been removed to ensure smooth and hassle-free downloading of the form. As a result, there is no longer a need to enter “N/A” in certain fields.
7. Updated Discrimination Avoidance Notice: The notice at the top of the form, providing guidance on avoiding discrimination during the Form I-9 process, has been revised to ensure it aligns with the latest guidelines.
8. Enhanced Lists of Acceptable Documents: The Lists of Acceptable Documents page has been improved to include some acceptable receipts and offers guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
9. DHS-Authorized Alternative Procedures: A new box has been added for eligible employers to check if the employee’s Form I-9 documentation was examined under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than through physical examination.
Employers need to be prepared for the transition to the new I-9 form no later than October 31, 2023. During this transitional period, USCIS may allow the use of the previous version of the form for a limited time (Rev. 10/21/2019). However, to avoid any compliance issues, employers are strongly advised to start using the updated I-9 form immediately.
Employer Responsibility: Ensuring Compliance
1.Training for HR Personnel/Hiring Trained HR Professionals: Employers should conduct training sessions for their HR personnel responsible for completing the I-9 forms. Understanding the changes in the new form and proper completion procedures will be crucial for maintaining compliance.
2. Retention and Storage: Employers are required to retain I-9 forms for all current employees and certain former employees. Ensure that these forms are stored securely and maintained in accordance with federal regulations.
3. Re-verification: If any current employees need to re-verify their employment authorization due to expiring documents, ensure the updated I-9 form is used for re-verification purposes.
As immigration laws are subject to change, it is essential for employers to stay informed about updates from USCIS and other relevant government agencies. Regularly check for official announcements and guidelines to ensure continued compliance with the latest regulations. With Sabeza HR on your side, you have a trusted partner to keep you in compliance!