The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Effective September 18, 2017, all employers are required to use Form I-9 with revision date 7/17/17 N. Employers must complete Form I-9 to establish the identity and work authorization for all individuals hired after November 6, 1986, for employment in the United States. The primary updates include:
- Changes to the List C Acceptable Documents – The documents under List C of Form I-9 are used to establish employment authorization in the United States. The revised Form I-9 adds Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, to the acceptable documents under List C. This document may now be presented for I-9 verification purposes for U.S. citizen employees who were born abroad. Likewise, for employers that use E-Verify, the employer may now select Form FS-240 when opening a new E-Verify case after completing the Form I-9.
- Changes to the Form I-9 Instructions – Section 1 of Form I-9 previously stated that Section 1 “must be completed no later than the end of the employee’s first day of employment.” The revised instructions removed the phrase “the end of” and now state that Section 1 must be completed “no later than the employee’s first day of employment.” Based on a stringent interpretation of this revision, we advise employers to complete Section 1 as soon as possible on the first day of employment.
- Changes to the Handbook for Employers – USCIS issued a new version of its Handbook for Employers M-274. The revised version incorporates the changes to the List C Acceptable Documents and Form I-9 instructions and reformats the contents so it is easier to access and view.
Although these changes may appear minor, the most important takeaway is to begin using the revised Form I-9 as soon as possible, and no later than September 18, 2017. Workplace raids and audits by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officers are at an all-time high and employers need to ensure that they are always using the correct version of Form I-9. The current administration plans to hire at least 10,000 additional ICE officers and many of these will be assigned to audits and workforce compliance with the immigration regulations. The best way for employers to minimize liability is to conduct an internal self-audit of their Form I-9s and immigration practices. Many of these errors can be corrected and potentially save thousands of dollars in penalties and fines in the event of a future ICE audit.
Members of Maynard Cooper’s Immigration Practice Group welcome your questions about the revised Form I-9, internal I-9 audits or any other aspect of immigration law. For more information, please reach out to one of the practice group’s contacts: Stephen Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joey Chbeir at email@example.com. For a more detailed description of services offered by Maynard Cooper’s Immigration Practice Group, please click here.