By Anthony P. Raimondo
All employers in the United States must use the new I-9 form for all new hires beginning in May 2013. Employers are not required to complete new forms for employees who are already working, but must use the new form for all new hires. To download the instructions for employment eligbility verification, please click here.
The form makes mostly cosmetic changes, but does require some additional information that was not required on the previous form. Most significant, the list of acceptable documents for employment eligibility verification has not changed. There is also a new Handbook for Employers (M-274) that answers common I-9 questions.
Critical steps to I-9 compliance are as follows:
1. Take your time! Many employers rush through the form and do not fill it out completely or correctly. Make sure you have read the instructions, and understand how to fill out the form. Make sure you give the employee a copy of the instructions when you give them a copy of the form – it is required by law.
2. Section 1 must be filled out after the employee is hired, but before the employee performs any work. If anyone helps the employee with that section, make sure that person signs the Preparer/Translator certification. Review Section 1 after the employee fills it out to make sure it is completed correctly.
3. Make sure you know how to fill out Section 2 of the form. It must be completed within 3 business days of hire. List A documents show a person’s identity AND their eligibility to work in the U.S. If the worker has a List A document like a U.S. Passport or a Permanent Resident Alien card, they do not need to produce other documents. If they offer additional documents, simply return them to the employee and inform the employee that they are not needed. A List B document shows identity only, like a drivers’ license. List C documents show eligibility to work but not identity, like a Social Security card or certified Birth Certificate. You must record one document from List A OR one from List B AND one form List C.
4. All documents must be current on hire, but you do not have to reverify the I-9 when a Permanent Resident Alien card expires.
5. The I-9 is available in Spanish, but the Spanish form may only be used in Puerto Rico. Employers in California should not use it.
6. Periodically review and audit your I-9s to ensure you remain in compliance.
The goal of this article is to provide employers with current labor and employment information. The contents should not be interpreted or construed as legal advice or opinion. For individual responses to questions or concerns regarding any given situation, the reader should consult with Anthony Raimondo at McCormick Barstow LLP in Fresno at (559) 353-2270.