For years, employers have struggled with properly completing the requirements of the I-9 Form. Every employee hired after November 6, 1986 must have an I-9 Form on file with the employer. The Form is proof that the employer has examined documents sufficient to establish the employee’s right to work in the United States. While the purpose of the I-9 is relatively straightforward, some large employers have faced fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars for errors these Forms.
With the electronic Form’s release on July 17, 2017, many of the violations that created liability should be a thing of the past. The new form provides drop down boxes which offer options in filling out sections of the form. The options will help in eliminating some of the common errors employers have made in the past like properly completing sections on; citizenship, immigration status, document title and state of residence. The form’s electronic version also provides instructions for completing each section when the user clicks on the question mark in that section.
In spite of these revisions which are designed to assist in preparation of the form, some employers have chosen to print the form and fill it out on paper. As a result, many easily avoidable mistakes remain an issue. We advise clients to fill out the form on a computer if at all possible, thus taking advantage of the individualized instructions and drop down boxes in each section of the new I-9 Form. We note as well that the “N” at the end of the release date in the bottom left hand corner of the form means that it is the only version currently authorized for use. Finally, we continue to see employees who use E-Verify failing to fill out I-9s in the mistaken belief that participation in the E-Verify program releases them from the requirement to have an I-9 for each employee. It does not. You must prepare a new I-9 for every employee regardless of whether you participate in E-Verifying.
The new electronic I-9 Form is available at USCIS website. Use it online and make your lives easier.