Legal Alerts

23 Jan 2017

To Avoid Stiff Penalties, Employers Must Use New Form I-9

As of Jan. 22, 2017, all employers must use a new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form, for all new hires and Section 3 reverifications. The new version was published on Nov. 14. Failure to use the new version of the Form I-9 carries stiff monetary penalties, starting at $216 per I-9 violation.

The revised Form I-9 is more technology-friendly, as it includes new drop-down fields, system prompts, calendars for populating dates, and on-screen instructions to guide the user if completing the form on the computer (which is not mandatory). The new form also revised certain fields in order to clarify requests for information (such as “other last names used” as opposed to “other names used”), and now includes an addendum page for additional preparer/translator certifications if more than one preparer or translator assists with the completion of the form.

The most notable changes to the new Form I-9 can be seen in the new form’s instructions, which have ballooned from 9 pages to a whopping 15 pages. The expanded instructions provide a much more comprehensive explanation about how to properly complete each field of the form, the acceptable abbreviations for List A, B, and C documents, and the new instructions also provide additional information regarding potential citizenship and national origin discrimination claims.

Other notable changes include an “additional information” box where employers can write additional notes regarding the I-9 verification process. Previously, employers had no designated area in which to provide such notes, and were left to randomly scribble such notes in open areas in the margins of the form.

As with any new government form however, there are pitfalls which await the unwary practitioner. Therefore, it is imperative that employees and agents completing the new Form I-9 on behalf of your company are familiar with the Form I-9 requirements in order to avoid potential monetary and criminal liability. 

If you have any questions regarding the new Form I-9 or any other immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact Diane E. Metzger.