The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released an updated Form I-9. Employers are encouraged to begin using this form immediately and must begin using it no later than September 18, 2017, or face potentially large fines. You can download the new form here.
Form I-9, is the document that verifies the identity of new hires and ensures they are authorized to work in the United States.
The new version includes changes to the form’s instructions and list of acceptable documents, which were created with the supposed goal of making the form easier to navigate. Besides changing the wording on the form in almost imperceptible ways (for example, removing “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment,” and asking for “other last names used” rather than “other names used”), the new version renumbers all List C documents except the Social Security card, and streamlines the certification process for certain foreign nationals.
Additionally, the new form includes prompts to help ensure the correct entering of information, as well as the ability to enter the names of multiple translators. It also has a dedicated space for including additional information so employees do not need to write in the margins of the document.
Since the new document looks very similar to the previous version, you’ll want to make sure you are using the correct one with the version date “7/17/17 N.” While you can wait until September to begin using the new form, there is no reason to wait. Once you have downloaded the new form, discard all previous versions and begin using the new form.
One important reason to begin using the new form immediately is to avoid the possibility of fines for non-compliance. As of last year t Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced increases to the fines as follows:
- Simple Form I-9 violations: The minimum fine has increased from $110 to $216 per Form I-9 violation, while the maximum fine increases from $1,100 to $2,156 per Form I-9 violation. Fines for second and third offenses have also increased to a similar degree.
- Unlawful Employment of Unauthorized Workers: For the first offense, the minimum fine has increased from $375 to $539, while the maximum fine increased from $3,200 to $4,313 per worker (fines for second and third offenses also increased).
- Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices: The minimum penalty has increased from $375 to $445, while the maximum penalty increased from $3,200 to $3,563 per charge. Repeat offenders now face a new maximum penalty of $21,563.
While the rule to increase the fines took effect on August 1, 2016, the increase to Form I-9 fines were retroactive to cover any violations that took place after November 2, 2015. Our firm has already defended cases where small employers with fewer than 100 employees faced potential fines in excess of $100,000 for simple errors.
If you need additional information regarding the changes to the I-9 form or other issues regarding work authorization, Roper Insurance recommends that you follow up with your attorney or you can visit https://www.uscis.gov/i-9 .
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