Form I-9 – What Is It and How Do I Complete It?

Federal Law stipulates that employers only hire individuals who can legally work in the United States, either U.S. citizens or foreign citizens who have the required authorization. To act in accordance with the law, all employers must complete and preserve Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of all new employees, citizens and noncitizens, to work in the United States.

Employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. The employee must complete Section 1, which they must confirm to their employment authorization. The employee must also present their employer with suitable documents providing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) the employee presents to determine if the document(s) appear to be authentic and relate to the employee and record the document information in Section 2.

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Employers Must Use New Version of Form I-9

inshistory9Effective January 22, 2017 employers should have started using the new version of Form I-9 (marked 11/14/2016) and should discontinue use of any forms with expiration dates prior to 2017.  The newest version of the form can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Employers who fail to use the new version of the form for new hires after January 22, 2017 will be subject to penalties which were recently increased drastically (effective August 1, 2016 the minimum penalty increased from $110 to $216 per violation and the maximum penalty increased from $1,100 to $2,156 per violation).

To avoid these penalties, employers should be using the new version of the form and should also ensure that the forms are filled out completely and correctly.

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The Employer’s Role in Documenting Workers Eligibility to Work (Form I-9)

pen-543858_1280The employer’s role in documenting alien workers is a balancing act.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), you must verify through examination of certain documents that employees are authorized to work in the U.S.  At the same time, you must avoid unfair employment practices.

By law, you must complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form for each new hire and keep the forms on file.  Former employees’ forms must be kept for three years from the hiring date or one year after termination, whichever is later.

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Make Sure Employees Are Eligible to Work in the United States

Under the Immigration and Control Act, employers are required to examine certain documents, such as drivers’ licenses, when they hire new employees.  They must then record the information on I-9 forms and keep the documents for a specified period of time.

Employers are generally not required to verify independent contractors or their workers.  But there’s a catch: If companies knowingly use subcontractors who employ unauthorized alien workers, they can expose themselves to potential I-9 violations.

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