U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated Form I-9 and its accompanying instructions, so the revision date in the lower left corner now says “07/17/17 N.”
Employers must begin using the updated version to verify new hires’ identity and employment eligibility no later than September 18, 2017. The USCIS also updated the Handbook for Employers (M-274) to make it consistent with the new Form I-9 and accompanying instructions. All of the revised documents are available on the USCIS web page for Form I-9.
A Shift in Enforcement?
One of the changes may signal a shift in enforcement perspective. Previously, the Form I-9 instructions said that Section 1 (employee information and attestation) had to be completed by “the end of the first day of employment.” The revised instructions say Section 1 must be completed by “the first day of employment.”
Other Minor Changes to the I-9
The remaining revisions are minor, such as reorganizing the List C documents in the List of Acceptable Documents and updating the name of the agency that enforces immigration discrimination (now the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division).
Tips for Employers:
The agency didn’t explain the change to the instructions for Section 1, but to be on the safe side, Vigilant recommends requiring new hires to complete Section 1 either before starting work, or at the beginning of their first day of work. Either way, you should apply a consistent approach to all new hires, without regard to national origin or employment status.
In a recent post, we outlined the importance of following an appropriate and consistent employment verification process. In that particular case, the employer had to pay $225,750 in fines to settle a lawsuit by the Department of Justice (DOJ). According to the DOJ, the employer had discriminated against permanent residents by accepting only one type of document (a green card) from them, while U.S. citizens and others were free to make their own selections from the List of Acceptable Documents.
We also recommend that you begin using the updated form right away, to take advantage of the clearer descriptions of the List C documents in the List of Acceptable Documents. Questions? See our Legal Guide, “Form I-9: Basic Obligations of Employment Eligibility Verification” or contact Vigilant about our employment law advice services.
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.