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March 22, 2013

New Form I-9 Released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a revised updated Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 "(Rev. 03/08/13)N". All employers are required to use the newly revised form for all newly hired employees immediately. However, a "grace period", of 60 days, will allow employers to use the previously released I-9 forms. After May 7, 2013, the newly revised Form I-9 will be mandatory for new employee processing. An employer should not complete a new Form I-9 for current employees if a properly completed Form I-9 is already maintained by the employer.

Here are some notable changes from the prior edition:

  • The new form is now two (2) pages, with additional fields for such information as e-mail address, phone number, and foreign passport number in the employee information section. 
  • Expanded instructions are provided that contain additional information, such as more detailed guidance on what types of documents are acceptable to establish employment authorization. 
  • Information is provided to guide employers on which receipts may be acceptable in lieu of a document on the "List of Acceptable Documents." 
  • The List of Acceptable Documents specifies the conditions for when a Social Security card is not acceptable to establish employment authorization (in short, if the card is stamped as "not valid for employment," or "valid only with . . . authorization," the card cannot on its own accord establish eligibility for work).

Employers are reminded that the identity and employment authorization must be verified for each person hired. A Form I-9 must be completed and retained for each employee. Failure to do so may result in civil fines and, potentially, criminal penalties. Also, use of the prior version of the Form I-9 after May 7, 2013, will be deemed a "technical violation" that can expose an employer to civil fines.
Employers should take some time to review the new Form and instructions, as well as familiarize themselves with the "M-274 Handbook for employers." Now is an opportune time to use this change in Form I-9 use to ensure that your compliance procedures are in order.

For more information on the details on the new Form I-9 or to review your compliance procedures, contact Eric W. Schultz at (716) 566-1412 or eschultz@hblaw.com.

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