The USCIS’s November Update of Form I-9

November 7, 2016 Andrew Larsen

The end of the year is a hectic time for a business. There’s open enrollment, holidays, preparation for tax season, and many other tasks to be completed. In the middle of this busy schedule, your business needs to be careful that its to-do list doesn’t interfere with remaining up-to-date on all current and new labor laws. If not cautious, you may miss small updates that throw your company out of compliance, which could result in civil fines and penalties that damage company resources.

One such update is the new Form I-9.

What is Form I-9?
If you’re running a legitimate business, you should have an I-9 completed for all employees hired after 1986.  Simply put, the form requires businesses to check for verification of an employee’s identity and authorization to work. The I-9 form is then kept on file to remain compliant with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) labor laws.

The New Form I-9
The USCIS recently reported that they intend to update Form I-9 by November 22, 2016. While the revised form will become available at the end of this year, the current I-9 form can still be used until January 21, 2017.  After this date all new employees will be required to fill out the new Form I-9. Previous employees will not need to file again, unless their current work authorization time-period expires and they need to reverify their eligibility to work.

Some of the changes to the I-9 form simplify the process of filing. For example, the form can now be filled out on the USCIS’s website. As businesses input employee information they can receive real-time error messages, drop down menus, and hover text to help them fill out the form correctly. A word of caution: the form still needs to be printed out and signed. The current requirements for storing and retaining I-9 forms will remain the same even with the updates.

Penalties for Non-Compliance
There are diverse ways your business can be non-compliant with Form I-9, and consequences include civil fines, criminal penalties, debarment from government contracts, and court mandated orders. Depending on circumstances, consequences can be fines reaching up to $16,000 per violation plus possible criminal proceedings.

Businesses need to educate themselves during this season to make sure they remain current with all labor laws. Even unintentional errors will still be subject to a fine, hampering a company’s ability to grow. Fortunately, there are HR solutions that incorporate systems and processes to help businesses keep up with the changing landscape of compliance.


About the Author

Andrew Larsen

Andrew is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Zuman, the one solution for HR, payroll, and benefits administration that supports growing small to midsize businesses.

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