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New I-9 Form Must Be Used by All Employers Starting Nov. 1

A woman talking to a man at a desk in an office.

​Employers are required to use the latest version of Form I-9 beginning today.

The new form from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has been available for use since August but becomes mandatory for all employers as of Nov. 1.

The new I-9 does not make any new changes to employer or employee obligations involved in the verification of work authorization. Cosmetic changes include the reduction of Sections 1 and 2 to a single page, slight revisions to the Lists of Acceptable Documents, and a new box that eligible employers must check if the employee's documents were examined remotely under the newly authorized alternative procedure for qualified E-Verify employers.

"Historically, employers were required to physically examine an employee's original identity and work authorization documents for Form I-9, which created compliance challenges for many employers with remote hires," said Jang Hyuk Im, a partner in the San Francisco office of Fisher Phillips. To remedy this problem, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created a framework to authorize alternative document examination procedures as an optional method to the in-person physical document examination method, he said.

"Even with the new improvements, the Form I-9 remains deceptively simple," Im said. "Any time a one-page form requires eight pages of instructions, two supplements, a 146-page handbook on how to complete the form, and the potential for significant monetary and criminal penalties, it will continue to present a significant compliance challenge for employers."

He added that this is a good time to update training and policies related to the I-9 and the E-Verify process.

"If your company uses an electronic I-9 provider, contact the provider now to ensure its system incorporates the new changes and complies with DHS requirements, including audit trails," Im said. "It is also an opportunity to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of E-Verify to determine if your company should take advantage of the remote verification option for E-Verify employers."


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