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What to Know about the New Form I-9 Requirements

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The Form I-9 confirms an employee’s identity and authorizes them to legally work in the United States. Some new requirements are coming to the form, so let’s see what HR and payroll professionals need to know.

Be Aware of New Requirements before the May 1st, 2020 Deadline

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new Form I-9. Employers will be required to use the new version starting May 1st, 2020, as older versions will not be accepted. The new form will be available soon from the Department of Homeland Security’s website. Until it’s available, you can find the current version of Form I-9 here.

The form has been updated in 2020 to include:

  • Clarification of acceptable documents

  • Additional information regarding who can act as an authorized representative on an employer’s behalf

  • Adding locations to the Country of Issuance fields

  • An updated privacy notice

  • An updated website

After April 30th, 2020, the USCIS says all older versions of the form will no longer be accepted. If employers fail to use the updated form, they could face penalties. 

Non-compliance Penalties

Employers need to stay on top of I-9 documentation. If they fail to accurately collect the form from their employees, they may face civil penalties of $230 to $2,292 per day per unverified employee. Businesses may also be barred from accepting government contracts. If employers are seen to show a pattern or practice of violations, they may be investigated by agencies such as ICE, Homeland Security, Wage & Hour Divisions, and state and federal Departments of Labor. ICE, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Labor all have jurisdictional authority to examine I-9 forms in the workplace. 

Which employees need an I-9?

All of your employees need to complete and sign Form I-9 per the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. It states all employers need to verify the employment eligibility and identity of new hires while establishing criminal and civil sanctions for violations. 

The form verifies two specific areas: an employee’s identity and authorization to legally work in the United States.

The form ensures a signed document of identity and verifies the documents an employee provides when they’re hired. Employers who choose E-Verify still need to use and keep I-9 forms in each employee’s personnel file. 

An I-9 requires employers to verify an employee’s onboarding documentation, which can include:

  • A Driver’s License

  • A Social Security Card

  • A Passport

New employees must complete the I-9 no later than three days after their date of hire. If the new employee does not provide the necessary paperwork, the employer must sever the employment relationship.

Most of the time employers only need to verify identity and work authorization at the hire of an employee. But if an employee is rehired after a gap of three years or more, they will need to complete a new Form I-9. If a document expires, such as a work authorization form, reverification must be completed at or before the time the document becomes invalid. Employers need to exercise due diligence and sever an employment agreement until reauthorization is completed.

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