What You Need to Know About the 2023 Updates to Form I-9
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS issued a new downloadable Form I-9, last August 1, 2023, that updates the processes. The previous version of the form is now only valid until October 31. Due to the recent increase in fines, compliance with the new process will be especially important.
Here are the revisions in the new version of Form I-9:
- The form has been condensed to a single-sided sheet for Sections 1 and 2.
- The form has been optimized to function as a fillable document on tablets and mobile devices.
- The Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification has been relocated to a separate, standalone supplement that employers can distribute to employees as needed.
- Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, has been moved to a standalone supplement that employers can print if and when rehiring or reverification is required.
- The Lists of Acceptable Documents page has been updated to include certain acceptable receipts, along with guidance and links to information regarding automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
- The instructions on the form have been streamlined, reducing them from 15 pages to 8 pages.
- A checkbox has been added to allow employers to indicate that they examined Form I-9 documentation remotely, following a DHS-authorized alternative procedure, instead of through physical examination..
To implement these changes and address potential challenges, employers should remain aware that introducing new procedures may lead to confusion, especially when combined with the prospect of increased penalties. Here are some proactive steps that employers can take to demonstrate their commitment to compliance:
- Develop an SOP Manual: Establish a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual for handling I-9 processes. This manual serves two crucial purposes: ensuring consistency, even in the event of employee turnover, and providing a structured plan for ICE auditors. It demonstrates that the employer has a well-organized approach to completing and storing I-9 forms.
- Conduct Regular Self-Audits: While conducting a full annual audit might not always be feasible, employers can benefit from periodic spot checks. These spot checks are a practical way to identify any training gaps or areas requiring improvement. They help maintain the accuracy and integrity of the I-9 process.
- Implement Annual I-9 Training: Consider incorporating an annual I-9 training program for individuals responsible for completing Form I-9. This training ensures that employees stay up-to-date with the latest compliance requirements and best practices, reducing the risk of errors.
By taking these proactive measures, employers can strengthen their “good faith” efforts to comply with I-9 regulations and mitigate potential compliance issues that may arise during changing processes.
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