The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has issued a new Form I-9, which must be used for all new hires at all employers beginning on May 1, 2020. The new form can be downloaded at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
Most of the changes in the new form are minor. One change that employers will welcome is clarification as to who can complete Section 2 of the I-9 form, which requires completion by an authorized representative of the employer. This has been a problem for companies with remote hires. The new form clarifies that the designated authorized representative does not have to be a company employee, but can be anyone so designated, such as a notary public. The company remains ultimately responsible for violations by the designated representative.
All employers, no matter how small, must complete I-9 forms for all covered employees. Employers must have employees fill out Section 1 of the I-9 form, and the employer or the employer’s authorized representative must fill out Section 2. It is very important that each I-9 form be completed correctly, and that the employer review the acceptable documents presented by the employee. While it is not mandatory to make copies of the documents reviewed, doing so can serve as proof that you have reviewed the documents, and they appeared to be valid.
Employers must keep I-9 forms on file until either three years from the employee’s hire date or one year from the employee’s termination from employment, whichever date is later. You should keep the forms for all employees together in an I-9 file that is kept in a secure place, rather than keeping them separately in each employee’s personnel file. You will want them to be easily accessible if USCIS performs an audit.
Keeping accurate I-9 forms is important, especially because USCIS has become more aggressive about performing audits. Even small, innocuous mistakes can result in fines against a company.
While use of the new form is not mandatory until May 1, 2020, it makes sense to begin using it immediately, so you will be used to using it prior to the mandatory deadline. To ensure you are using the new form, check the upper right corner, where you will see an expiration date of 10/31/2022.
If you have questions about this or any other employment law issues, please contact S. Whitney Rahman at email@example.com or (717) 509-7237, Grace C. Nguyen Bond at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 509-7226, or Jill M. Laskowitz at email@example.com or (717) 509-7261.
**This update is provided for informational purposes only and
should not be construed as legal advice or as creating an
attorney-client relationship where one does not already exist.**