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Several articles and SHRM tips have been distributed regarding the new Form I-9. If you find yourself questioning whether it applies to your company, it does. As a refresher, the Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the US. All employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the US within three days of hire. The process hasn’t changed, just the form itself.

Here is what you need to do going forward:

  1. Start using the new form!

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the newest version of the Form I-9 on July 17. The minimal revisions to the form relate to the USCIS’s List of Acceptable Documents and update List C to reflect the most current version of the certification or report of Birth Issued by the U.S. State Department. The updated form will be mandatory beginning September 18, 2017. The changes on the form are minimal, yet failure to transition to the new form before the deadline can result in fines.

  1. Store it properly.

No changes on this.  Employers must keep each I-9 for as long as the worker is on payroll.  After termination, HR must decide to retain and store the form; either three years after the date of hire or one year after the termination date, whichever is later.  Paper I-9 forms should continue to be stored separately from personnel documents.  Only authorized personnel should have access via a locked drawer.

The new Form I-9 is not electronic, but we recommend storing it electronically. Several requirements must be in place for an electronic storage system to be legal.

  • The system must have controls to ensure integrity, accuracy and reliability.
  • Quality assurance controls must be in place to ensure an audit trail so that any alteration or change to the form since its creation is electronically stored and can be accessed by inspectors.
  • The I-9 system must be secure and limit access to authorized personnel, provide a backup for recovery of records and ensure that employees are trained to minimize the risk of altering data.
  1. Track Forms I-9.

Forms I-9 need to be tracked to re-verify employees whose work authorizations expire or those of terminated employees.  Create a system that provides notifications to HR staff to request necessary documents to re-verify.  Once an employee terminates, HR can also create a reminder so I-9s are destroyed appropriately per that termination date.  Reminders can be in the form of Outlook, via an Excel file, or even a paper folder that they review monthly to confirm that forms are properly handled.

The updated Form I-9 is new, and you need to start using it now.  Everything else is the same, yet the internal process can always be refined and improved.  If you need assistance, reach out to me at laura@purpleinkllc.com ; auditing the current process is a great step in developing a new and efficient way to use, store and track your I-9s.

Laura North
Laura North
Laura is a Consultant at Purple Ink. She thrives for all employees to understand their role and value within the company’s mission.

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