On August 25, 2016, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued its approval of the final version of the new Form I-9. Yet, uncertainty remains, as USCIS has not made any official statements regarding the new Form I-9 – leaving audiences to wonder how the new Form I-9 will evolve and when it will become effective.
The OMB’s Notice of Action grants USCIS 90 days to update the I-9 system to reflect the new changes and the new revision date. Not unlike previous revisions of the Form I-9, this version will feature an expiration date of 3 years – remaining valid until August 31, 2019.
The Notice of Action permits USCIS to accept the prior version of the Form I-9 (expiration date of March 31, 2016) for a period of 150 days, while USCIS gets the new form changes implemented and operational. This gives employers until January 22, 2017 to continue using the current Form I-9. USCIS has not yet commented on the 150 day extension period, or whether it intends to use it.
Although the new form has been approved by the OMB, USCIS has not yet finalized or published it for general use on its website. Employers will want to stay apprised of changes, closely monitoring USCIS’ next moves on the Form I-9 to see what’s released and when. Doing so will help ensure that employers are using the correct version and remaining compliant; otherwise, use of an incorrect Form I-9 version may lead to increased violations and fines. The approval and future release of the new Form I-9 comes on the heels of the Department of Justice’s recent fine increases (http://i9advantage.com/i-9-e-verify-resources/news/legislation-regulation/form-i-9-penalties-2016/) - making it more important than ever that employers exercise compliance in hiring practices.
Proposed changes on the new Form I-9 included some of the following:
- Field data validation to ensure information is keyed correctly
- Calendars and drop-down lists
- The requirement to select a checkbox entitled “I did not use a preparer or translator” if the employee does not use one in the completion of the Form I-9
- The option to use multiple preparers and translators using a separate preparer and/or translator section for each, and adding a Supplement in cases where more than one preparer or translator is used to complete Section 1
- Distinguishing between an Alien Registration Number and USCIS number in Section 1
- A new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of Section 2, where the employer is expected to write the number that corresponds to the citizenship/immigration status selected by the employee in Section 1
- Separating Form I-9 instructions from the actual form
- A new area in Section 2 dedicated to entering additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form, including TPS extensions, OPT STEM extensions, H-1B portability, and more
- A barcode, or “QR code” that is generated once the form is printed and be used to streamline ICE audit processes
- Embedded and detailed instructions for completing fields
- Buttons that allow users access to electronic instructions, printing the form, and clearing the form to start over
- Requiring employees to provide only “other last names used” in Section 1, rather than all other names used
- A modification to Section 1 requesting that certain foreign national employees enter either their Form I-94 number or foreign passport information, but not both
I-9 Advantage continues to follow USCIS actions and will report any important Form I-9 developments. Employers should continue monitoring compliance changes to remain informed of regulations and enforcement actions that may affect their I-9 processes. I-9 Advantage helps simplify your best practices and assist in stronger Form I-9 compliance through a wizard-driven, electronic and cloud-based set of tools.
To learn more about the new I-9 and ways in which -I9 Advantage can support your company by developing a stronger compliant Form I-9 solution, please contact us.