The I-9 Form is well known to most companies with employees in the US. This form is what the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires employers to have on file for all employees in order to verify that the employee is eligible to work in the US. The form was released on November 14th. Organizations with employees in the US will need to ensure that future employees complete this new form, and not an older version. In this post, we’ll explore 5 things you need to know about the new I-9 Form.
As mentioned, the new form was released on November 14th. There is a 2-month grace period – employers may continue using the current version until January 21, 2017. Previous I-9 versions will not be acceptable for any employees starting after that date. It is therefore critical for all employers to ensure they have the current form in place and ready to go by January 21.
On August 1st, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s implemented new penalties for immigration-related workplace violations. The penalty increases are substantial, as fines are being adjusted for inflation from the date of their initial enactment. Most significant is the increase in the range for fines for mistakes or omissions on Form I-9 – known commonly as paperwork violations. These penalties will increase by 96 percent, to $216 - $2,156, from $110 - $1,100.
The cost of noncompliance can hence grow exponentially for companies hiring employees daily, weekly, or even monthly. Note that most I-9 violations are considered continuing violations until they are corrected; it is therefore more important than ever for employers to ensure they have compliant policies and processes in place. The increase in fines applies to all violations occurred after November 2, 2015, so now is a good opportunity to conduct a self-audit.
There’s a new form due by a new date and new fines for noncompliance. So what is actually needed for compliance? In case of an audit from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE audit”), the auditor will require the employer to show that its I-9 records are properly maintained and do not contain any technical or procedural errors. HR technology should make it simple for employers to pull reports to see which Form I-9’s employees have and ensure the correct forms are being used at all times.
4. Smart Forms Only Go So Far
With the release of the new form, there is also an updated “smart form.” This means that employees filling out this smart form will hopefully have less confusion – there will be more field validation and it will be more difficult to make errors. However, organizations using the smart form functionality will still need to download the form, print it, sign it, and scan it back in. Large organizations will want to minimize the amount of manual work required for these forms and would benefit from HR technology that allows them to capture the required information electronically and automate any additional workflows required by the document.
5. You Are Not Alone
Still have questions? So do most of our clients. For more information on the updates to the I-9 form and global records management requirements, please attend our webinar on Wednesday, December 7th with Corporate Compliance expert, Eric Bord of Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP.
Arnaud leads PeopleDoc's global legal and compliance organization, bringing over 10 years of legal experience. Prior to joining PeopleDoc, Arnaud was Vice President and General Counsel for Transdev On Demand, Inc., a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement group, where his focus was on US commercial contracts, corporate law, compliance and employment law. He has two Masters degrees in law from Northwestern University in the US and Paris XII University in France, as well as a Certificate of Business Administration from Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain. He is a member of the New York Bar.