Labor and Employment Alert: New I-9 Form

On January 22, 2017, all employers must start using a new “smart” Form I-9 which carries an expiration date of August 31, 2019. While called a “smart” form, it  is not actually a truly electronic I-9 form. The new form is used through an Adobe Reader and employers must still fill out the form and print it out in order to obtain handwritten signatures, store, or scan for electronic preservation. In addition, the information must still be retyped into E-Verify as required. The new form and instructions may be found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. (The “old” forms dated 3/08/13 in the lower left-hand corner may be used through January 21, 2017).

The regulations and acceptable documents have not changed. Only the form is new, and it does not store information or provide for electronic reporting and as noted above, still requires an ink signature. It also does not integrate with other HR software. There are prompts, however, to ensure that the information is entered correctly.  The instructions appear via “hover” text and drop down menus are available to identify acceptable documents.  If a document is not consistent with Section 1 status, an error message will appear. There is a “click to finish” box to begin a validation process to verify the information that has been entered. The form also contains “clickable” boxes for instructions, start over, and print. It does contain quick response (“QR”) matrix barcode capability to convert information into a digital barcode that can be used to streamline enforcement audits and may be read by other applications.

There is a new section where employers may enter certain “additional information,” which is for information that Employers may have traditionally written on the margins or attached as a separate memo concerning any unusual situations such as an employee’s legal name change that does not match information on the forms of ID but for which the employee provided proof of the name change.  Employers should carefully review and understand what information they enter into this section as the information may be used in subsequent audits.

There are separate instructions for the new form and employers are still required to present the instructions to the employee completing the form. There is a Spanish version of the I-9 that can be used in Puerto Rico. That version may also serve as a translation guide for all other states or territories, but in those jurisdictions, the English one will still be the one that needs to be completed. Employers interested in learning more may want to sign up for the government’s informational telephone conference on January 31, 2017.  Registration is available at https://www.uscis.gov/outreach/revised-form-i-9-employment-eligibility-verification.

The Labor & Employment Alert is intended to keep readers current on matters affecting labor & employment, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact Karen S. Elliott at 804.788.7762, Derek Illar at 412.566.6771, or any other attorney with whom you have been working.

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Authors

Karen S. Elliott

Member - Richmond

Derek Illar

Member - Pittsburgh