In order to be eligible for hire, every business owner is required by law to verify the citizenship of prospective employees. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department released a revised I-9 Form that must be used on every new hire and for re-verification purpose effective May 7th, 2013. Companies that fail to adhere to this new regulation could be subjected to hefty fines and/or criminal charges.
All employees, whether a citizen or noncitizen, who have been hired after November 6, 1986 must retain a copy of their employment authorization on record at their place of work. Keep in mind that if you are a business owner, you need not complete the new I-9 forms for current staff if you already have a previous form on file for them.
How did the I-9 Change?
In case you are unsure of how to distinguish the old and revised forms, there will be a revision date marked 3/8/2013 on the lower left corner. Most of the information has remained the same in terms of substance, albeit a few important changes. The three main sections of the I-9 Form detail the purpose to collect the appropriate identification information about the employee’s citizenship status within a timely manner, as well as regarding their continued employment authorization.
After discovering that many employees were filling the forms out incorrectly, the USCIS decided it was best to make the document more user-friendly. Thus, the revision centers on data entry error minimization, making the form easier to read and fill out.
In addition to new data fields such as line for the employee’s telephone number and email address (if available), the I-9 Form’s instructions were rewritten for better clarity. The layout has also undergone noticeable changes, namely the extension of the form by one extra page to keep subsections shorter and more concise.
Employers in need of copies of the revised I-9 Form can go to the USCIS website. This is also where they can go for answers to all questions pertaining to employee citizenship eligibility.