USCIS Releases New Edition Of Form I-9 And Increases I-9 Audits Of Employers

On July 17, 2017 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released a revised version of the Form I-9.  This new version will become mandatory on September 18, 2017.  There were no actual changes to the Form I-9, however, there were minor changes to the Form I-9 Instructions which changed the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (“OSC”) to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (“IER”) and removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment”.   The List of Acceptable Documents was also changed to add the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to the List “C” documents.  Despite the fact that these are seemingly minor revisions, all employers must begin using the July 17, 2017 version of the Form I-9 by September 18, 2017.

Implementation of the July 17, 2017 Form I-9 by September 18, 2017 presents an opportunity for employers to review their Form I-9 compliance policies.  This is particularly important now as USCIS has been increasing the number of I-9 audits it is conducting as part of the new Administration’s immigration work site enforcement policy.  In assessing whether an employer is in good faith with its I-9 compliance, USCIS looks at steps an employer took BEFORE the audit notice is served.   Employers need to consider the following as necessary steps for proper Form I-9 compliance:

∙                                   Proper training in how to complete the Form I-9 for all employees who handle this task or have responsibility for overseeing the Form I-9 process

∙                                   Annual audit of Form I-9s either by a third party or internally by an employee who has been trained to audit the Form I-9s and who does not routinely complete the Form I-9

∙                                   Creation and/or maintenance of written I-9 (and E-Verify if applicable) Policies and Procedures

∙                                   Vetting of storage and destruction procedures for the company’s Form I-9s to be certain they are in compliance with federal regulations

Good risk management requires that you implement the above measures as fines for errors on a Form I-9 can be up to $2,156 per Form I-9 for a first time violation.Please contact the Kullman Firm attorney with whom you normally work, or Patricia A. Bollman, our Immigration Law Specialist at pab@kullmanlaw.com, should you have any questions or require additional information concerning this matter.