Is it possible – just maybe – that your eyes weren’t firmly glued on last summer’s big news from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service that there are mandatory changes to the Form I-9?
I’m bringing it up again because November 1 was the deadline for all employers to learn and comply with their new obligations in ensuring their employees are who they claim to be and that they’re legally authorized to work in the US.
If you missed it … or if you just want a refresher … let me tell you all about the exciting news in the world of immigration and employment verification.
There’s a freshly revamped Form I-9, also known as the Employment Eligibility Verification form, and employers must have their newly-hired employees complete this version within three (3) business days of their hire date.
Download the new Form I-9 by clicking here!
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rolled up its sleeves last summer and made some significant changes to the form and its accompanying instructions. The good news? These changes are aimed at simplifying the process for both employers and employees, making life a little smoother for all parties involved.
What are the updates and what do they mean for employers?
1. Shorter and Sweeter:
The new Form I-9 has shed some weight. The USCIS has managed to condense sections 1 and 2 to fit neatly onto a single-sided sheet. It’s all about streamlining the process.
Multiple fields have been merged into fewer ones where possible, reducing complexity and enhancing user-friendliness.
2. Supplement Shuffle:
Preparer and/or Translator Certification (Supplement A) now stands alone as a separate supplement, instead of being squished at the bottom of Page 1. Employers can easily hand it over to employees for them to fill out and return.
Supplement B, used for reverification and rehires, has also moved off of Page 2 and found its own place as a standalone document. This separation makes things clearer and more manageable.
3. Alternative Document Examination:
Remember how during the COVID pandemic, employers were allowed to complete a new hire’s Form I-9 remotely instead of in person? I’m happy to say that that remote verification process is here to stay, but that “alternative” method has some new limitations on which employers can do it.
If you’re allowed to verify employment eligibility documents remotely, there’s a new checkbox the Form I-9 form so you can indicate that you’ve examined an employee’s documentation using a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-authorized alternative procedure, rather than the traditional in-person physical examination.
If you’re not sure whether you’re allowed to still verify these documents remotely, let me know and we’ll talk through it!
4. Terminology Tidbits:
The language on the form has seen a makeover. The term “alien authorized to work” in Section 1 has been replaced with “noncitizen authorized to work.”
Furthermore, they’ve made a clear distinction between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work.”
The revamped form has been designed to be user-friendly on tablets and mobile devices. This means it’s now easier for both employers and employees to complete the form electronically, saving time and hassle.
6. Simplified Instructions:
The instruction section of the Form I-9 has undergone a significant makeover. It’s been trimmed down from a hefty 15 pages to a more manageable 8 pages. This change is all about reducing the amount of reading required, making the process more efficient.
Download a copy of the new Form I-9 instructions by clicking here!
7. Anti-Discrimination Alert:
At the top of the Form I-9, you’ll find a new notice that provides clearer guidance to employers on avoiding discrimination during the verification process. Ensuring fairness and equality in the workplace is a top priority and something no one can argue against!
Starting on November 1, 2023, the old version of the Form I-9 is obsolete – get rid of it so you’re not tempted to use it when you hire your next employee, and start using this new one.
Remember, completing and keeping your Forms I-9 in order is no laughing matter. Failing to comply with these regulations can lead to some hefty penalties, so it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with the new form and its instructions.
If you want to talk about the new Form I-9 or any other human resources issue that’s even more interesting to you, take advantage of my free 20-minute consultations! You can schedule one by clicking this link.