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Monday, March 25, 2013

New Form I-9 Mandatory

March 19, 2013


New Form I-9 Mandatory

By: Tommy Eden, Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP

The Federal Government released a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 on March 8, 2013. It is sure to become the most complex and misunderstood two page form ever issued by the Federal Government. All employers should begin using the new Form I-9 immediately for all new hires. The revision date is on the lower left of the new form (Rev. 03/08/13)N. Employers may continue to use the previously valid Forms I-9 (Rev. 08/07/09Y and 02/02/09N) until May 7, 2013. After that date only use the new Form I-9. In the cases of reverification or rehires the new version of the Form I-9 must be used. Here are some of the changes:

• Form I-9 is now 2 pages; with page 1 to be completed by the new hire while page 2 is solely the employer’s responsibility

• Expanded instructions to 6 pages

• New fields for e-mail address, phone number and foreign passport in Section 1.

• Updated “Handbook for Employers” M-274 is now 70 pages long.

Take precautions to avoid mistakes when completing the new form since even simple paperwork fines can range from $110 to $1,100 per violation. The aim of the new I-9 form is to clear up many of the ambiguities that have existed in the past such as how persons with temporary visas should complete Section 1? What should employers do in Section 2 if they are presented with a receipt instead of a listed document? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to use email and phone information to contact an employee whose information on the I-9 does not match DHS or Social Security records. Other significant changes include:

• Few employers know that new hires need not list their Social Security numbers in Section 1, unless the employer is part of the E-Verify system, then the Social Security number is mandatory

• Certain foreign nationals who are not lawful permanent residents of the U.S. may be required to list the country of issuance of their passports and their passport numbers on the I-9.

• Many of the new fields on the forms are far more complex than they appear: 1) who is a “noncitizen national”? 2) How should the employer properly reverify an expiring employment authorization before it expires? or 3) How to handle hiring of minors and those with a disability.

Common Sense Counsel: Training on how to properly complete the new Form I-9 is not optional if you wish to hire new employees and avoid fines and penalties after May 7, 2013. You may download the new Form I-9 and Handbook for Employers by visiting www.uscis.gov

Tommy Eden is an attorney with Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP, member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, East Alabama SHRM Board of Directors and presented throughout the State of Alabama on Immigration Workplace Compliance. Tommy can be contacted at teden@constangy.com  or 334-246-2901. Compliance and training resources at www.immigrationalabamalaw.com