The form businesses use to verify employment eligibility, Form I-9, will see revisions again. Employers must complete Form I-9s for every new hire, verifying their eligibility to work in the United States. As such, completing the verification process has become one of the most critical areas of compliance.
Unfortunately, with the constant changes in I-9 compliance, employers have found the process increasingly complicated. In addition, enforcement of these regulations has increased. This increase has made it crucial for companies to avoid mistakes to avoid accruing severe fines and penalties, especially with the latest change.
Businesses will find that one of the most significant developments includes a new version of Form I-9. Though this new version remains substantially the same, employers should note several fundamental changes to the form. This awareness will prove critical to ensuring continued compliance with federal employment law.
The new version of Form I-9 includes changes to streamline the instructions for completion. It also amends the list of acceptable documents that workers may provide to prove their identity and work authorization. In addition, the new form combines Sections 1 and 2 of Form I-9 on the same page. Finally, Section 3 will stand alone as a Reverification and Rehire Supplement that employers may print and fill out as needed.
Employers must retain Form I-9s for all employees, maintaining the forms for the latter of the one year after employment ends or a minimum of three years after their hire date. Furthermore, employers must provide these forms when U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) performs an audit.
The Department of Homeland Security has made a change to remove PDF enhancements from the electronic form. This change will prevent the technical issues that have previously hampered employers’ ability to complete the process on various devices.
Another change no longer requires employers to write “N/A” into fields that do not apply to a given employee. Before this change, employers had to fill out all blank fields, including the optional sections.
Though penalties continue to increase, the exact fines and other consequences depend on various factors. For example, the type of violation, frequency, and whether the employer acted in good faith can determine the severity of penalties. Possible fines per violation range from $110 to $1,100 for substantive and uncorrected technical violations and $375 to $16,000 for knowingly hiring an unauthorized worker.
Companies that fail to comply with the often complex and challenging Form I-9 requirements will encounter severe penalties. However, employers have several steps they can take to ensure compliance. For example, they could incorporate an electronic I-9 management tool into the hiring process. This tool can provide step-by-step guidance and a suite of features, such as easy-to-retrieve storage for forms and documentation.
Learn more about automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9Compliance.