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Revised Form I-9 Required for All New Hires in United States in January 2017


2/2/2017
 
Synopsis
 
Federal law requires employers to verify the identity and eligibility of all new employees to work in the United States by completing a Form I-9 for each new hire. On November 14, 2016, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised Form I-9 (the “Revised Form I-9”), Employment Eligibility Verification.  Beginning January 22, 2017, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) requires all employers to use the revised form I-9. 
 
Some of the Changes to the I-9 Form Include:
 
  • The three page I-9 form is now separate from the long instructions (15 pages);
  • A field in section 1 has been revised from “other names used” to “other last names;”
  • Streamlining certification for certain foreign nationals;
  • Employers now have a designated field to enter supplemental information rather than having to add it in the margins of the form;
  • The new form allows entry of multiple preparers and translators;
  • An automatic inclusion of a quick response (“QR”) code once the form is completed and printed to facilitate review by auditors;
  • The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly; and
  • Employers are now required to complete a new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of Section 2, where employers will record the number (1-4) checked by the employee in Section 1.
 
The revised Form I-9 is designed to reduce the frequency of errors in completing the form and to make it easier to pre-fill certain sections of the form electronically. While certain parts of the form can be completed electronically, the form itself must be printed and signed by the employee and employer. USCIS’s Handbook for Employers has not yet been revised to incorporate information about the new form and other changes. However, the revised Form I-9 instructions have been published and are easily accessible.
 
Form I-9 requirements were established in November 1986 when Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). IRCA prohibits employers from hiring people, including U.S. citizens, for employment in the United States without verifying their identity and employment authorization on Form I-9.
 
What Does CohnReznick Think?
 
We have seen several businesses, including construction contractors, face significant fines in the past for deficient Form I-9 compliance and their overall employee verification process. There may be a renewed focus on this issue as immigration concerns are addressed by Washington in the coming months. All businesses are advised to reassess their hiring and employee verification process including Form I-9 compliance.  Your CohnReznick professional can assist you in reviewing your hiring compliance.
 
Contact
 
For more information, please contact Joseph Tighe, Partner, at joseph.tighe@cohnreznick.com or 973-618-6243.
 
Any advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues. Nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its members, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it. 
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