Check Your New Hire Packet: A New Version of Form I-9 is in Effect

by | Mar 27, 2017 | Spring 2017 Newsletters

By Susan Breslauer, SPHR-CA, SHRM SCP

By January 22, 2017, all employers should be using the updated Form I-9, dated November 14, 2016, published by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.  The new form has an expiration date of August 31, 2019.  All employers with one or more employees are required to complete Form I-9 and verify identification documents for newly hired employees by day three of employment.  Hopefully this is not new news to you!  These requirements were established in November 1986 by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).  Since 1986, there have been many versions of Form I-9 published. 

Most notably, you may choose to complete the updated Form I-9 manually or via computer.  If you complete the form on the computer, you will find there are drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates.  The instructions are programmed for each field, and there is quick access to the full instructions.  A handy feature is that you can clear the form and start over if errors are made.

There are several changes in the latest version that your I-9 verifier should be aware of.  Section 1 now asks for “other last names used” instead of “other names used” and it makes certification for certain foreign nationals more efficient.  Other formatting changes have been made, including:  Prompts have been added so that information is entered correctly; the instructions have been separated from the form and include specific instructions for completing each field; and there is an area for additional information so it does not need to be recorded in the margins.  In addition, a supplemental page for the preparer/translator has been added.

If you are a retained client, your Silvers HR Consultant has likely done an I-9 audit as part of your HR Practices Review and you are an ace in I-9 procedures.  Here are some reminders of proper procedures which are still in effect:

  • All new hires must complete Section 1 of Form I-9 by day one of employment.
  • Employers must verify documents and complete Section 2, including the certification portion, no later than day three of employment.
  • One document from List A, or one document from List B and List C, must be reviewed and recorded by the employer in Section 2. (We do not recommend keeping copies unless you are an E-Verify employer.)
  • The date of hire must be entered in Section 2 by the employer. (We find this is often missed).
  • The employer must complete all fields in certification box (section 2), including signing and dating the form.

We recommend appointing one person at each location to verify employment authorization documents for purposes of the Form I-9.  (It doesn’t work to have remote I-9 verifiers since actual I-9 documents, not photocopies, must be examined.)  This person should be trained in I-9 procedures, along with prohibited practices and unlawful types of immigration-related discrimination in hiring.  A handy tool to review is Part Four of the “Handbook for Employers – Guidance for Completing Form I-9”. The Handbook can be found in the Silvers HR Library or at this link.

Remember to keep all I-9s for active employees on file, preferably in a separate binder or file, not in the personnel files.  When an employee separates employment, retain his/her Form I-9 for one year from the termination date or three years from the hire date, whichever is later.

You may find the new Form I-9 in the Silvers HR Library.