Mandatory Use of New Form I-9 Begins September 18, 2017
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released yet another version of the Form I-9 on July 17, 2017. The latest version includes minor revisions to the Instructions and the Lists of Acceptable Documents. Beginning September 18, 2017, employers may no longer use the prior version of the form revised on November 14, 2016. Employers can find a variety of documents on the USCIS' Form I-9 website, including the new "smart version" that includes error-checking capabilities, the regular print version, the supplement that must be used where more than one preparer or translator assist, the Form I-9 Instructions (15 pages), and the Spanish versions of the same documents (which may be used to assist in translation, but may only be completed in Spanish in Puerto Rico). Additionally, the M-274 Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing Form I-9 has also been updated.
Use of the latest revision, which bears the "07/17/17 N" revision date in the bottom left corner of the form, is mandatory beginning September 18, 2017 and can be used now.
What has changed?
Form I-9 Instructions:
- The USCIS removed the language "the end of" from the phrase, "the first day of employment" in connection with the Form I-9 deadlines. This does not change the required timelines for Form I-9 completion, but may be intended to clarify the language. Employers should review their procedures to be sure they have new hires complete Section 1 of the Form I-9 no later than their first day of work for pay.
- The Instructions now reflect that the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) changed its name to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) to avoid confusion with another federal agency with a similar name and acronym.
The Lists of Acceptable Documents:
- List C now includes a new document type called the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240).
- List C now includes seven, rather than eight, categories of acceptable documents, with all of the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form DS-1350, Form FS-545, and Form FS-240) combined in section C 2.
Employers should roll out the new Form I-9 as soon as possible to ensure compliance. And companies that utilize electronic Form I-9 vendor services need to check with their vendors immediately to be sure their systems are updated to meet the deadline. Employers should also replace their M-274 handbooks with the latest version, which references all the items changed in this latest Form revision. The USCIS has published a "Table of Changes" to the M-274 as well.
Implementing use of the new Form I-9 and updated procedures consistent with the changes is an opportunity to train your company's Form I-9 administrators in immigration compliance. Stinson can help provide this training. Likewise, if your company has not considered its historical Form I-9 compliance and the liability associated with paperwork and other errors, our firm regularly assists companies in performing internal audits, which can go far in minimizing liability in the event of a government inspection.