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Employers: Important Changes to Form I-9

November 10, 2016

Have you collected an I-9 from all employees? A new version of the form will be available November 22nd of this year.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, all employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for every employee hired after November 6th, 1986. This form is necessary to verify all employees’ identities and employment eligibility for work in the U.S. There are some new changes set forth by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that all employers should read up on.

Purpose of the form

In 1986 Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) to forbid employers from knowingly hiring individuals who do not have work authorization in the U.S. The form must be on file for all current employees, regardless of background.

Current form

The current version of Form I-9 expired on March 31, 2016. In August, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Why did the ICE develop a new form?

ICE developed a new version of the form to address “frequent points of confusion that arise for both employees and employers”. While the publication date of the new form is still unknown, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is required to publish it by November 22, 2016.

ICE says the new form can be filled out electronically, but still must be physically printed, signed, and stored in a safe place such as an employee file.

What’s new? (included but not limited to)

  1. Changes to e-filing- New drop-down lists and calendars, buttons that allow users to access filing instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form to start over (if need be).
  2. The requirement that immigrant employees (authorized to work) provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information has been removed.
  3. Each field now contains embedded instructions to help reduce technical errors.
  4. There is a new requirement that employees only have to provide “other last names used” instead of “all other names used” to avoid possible discrimination against those who have changed their first names.

How long can employers use the current form for new hires?

Employers may continue using the current version of Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013, until January 21, 2017. After January 21, 2017, all previous versions of the form will be invalid for new hires. Employers should continue using the current version of I-9 until the new version is released. The expiration date of the new form will be August 31, 2019.

How long is the form good for?

Employers are required to retain original I-9 forms for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends (depends on whichever date is later.) Be sure to reverify employees with expiring work authorizations. To continue to employ an individual whose employment authorization has expired, you will need to reverify him or her in Section 3 of Form I-9. Reverification must occur no later than the date that employment authorization expires.

Questions on filing instructions? We’re here to help—Contact a member of our Tax Services Group today.

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