In late July 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of an updated Form I-9. The purpose of Form I-9 is to verify employment eligibility in the United States.
Shortened and streamlined, the new form is now available to employers and will be the preferred version after August 1, 2023. Employers may continue to use the older Form I-9 through October 31, 2023. After that deadline, employers who use the older form will be subject to penalties.
What is a Form I-9?
During the hiring process, employers are required to meet several essential compliance requirements. Lots of paperwork must be completed and retained for each new employee, including the Form I-9.
USCIS, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, requires Form I-9 to establish that an employee is eligible to work in the U.S. In addition to proving employment eligibility, the Form I-9 is used to verify an individual’s identity through acceptable documentation as evidence of identity and employment authorization.
What is the Form I-9 used for?
Federal law requires employers to only employ individuals who are legally permitted to work in the U.S., such as:
- U.S. citizens
- Non-citizen nationals
- Lawful permanent residents
- Non-citizens authorized to work the United States
To comply, employers must inspect documentation from all newly hired employees to confirm their identity and employment authorization. The Form I-9 documents this inspection, which businesses must complete and retain for each employee.
The importance of accurate employee classifications
The USCIS defines an “employee” as anyone who performs labor or services in the U.S. for an employer, in return for wages or other remuneration. Volunteers, independent contractors, and unpaid interns are not required to complete a Form I-9.
Accurate classification of workers is critical for businesses for several reasons in addition to the Form I-9. Learn more about employee classification and how it affects different aspects of your business.
Additional Form I-9 updates
Additionally, the I-9 documentation review has now reverted back to the pre-pandemic policy of reviewing employee documentation in their physical presence.
If an employer participates in E-Verify, the Secretary of Homeland Security has authorized an alternative procedure to allow for remote examination of employee documents. For further guidance and to check on eligibility, review the Remote Documentation Examination section of the USCIS Handbook for Employers.
Easier compliance + better onboarding with Netchex
Ensuring a completed Form I-9 should be a mandatory step during the onboarding process for new hires. Netchex strives to make everyday HR tasks like this easier with compliance assurance.
In light of the Form I-9 update, Netchex has already made a few enhancements to completing the Employee Form I-9, including:
- Any I-9s completed after July 5th, 2023, will have an enhanced signature for the employee and employer to display, including a scripted digital signature. The Employer signature will include an ID, Timestamp, and an IP address.
- On the I-9/Citizenship Page, there is now a section at the bottom for “Additional Information” giving you the ability to add notes under Section 2 of the I-9 form.
Clients with any further questions or concerns can contact your service team by submitting a case via NetCommunity.
With an audit, HR can conduct a deep-dive investigation into your organizations’ operations to determine if everything is in line with federal and local guidelines, while simultaneously adhering to the needs of employees. Learn more about HR’s role in ensuring company-wide compliance.