Employers to Use New I-9 Forms for New Hires in January 2017

On November 14, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a newly revised Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification Form.  The Form I-9 is completed by employers when verifying identity and employment eligibility of all new hires.

Changes to the Form I-9 include, but are not limited to:

  • Expanded instructions which will now be separate from the Form itself
  • The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly via new “smart” features
  • Ability to enter multiple preparers and translators
  • A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins
  • An employee is no longer prohibited from entering a PO Box as his/her address in the section 1 address field
  • Section 1 now asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used.” This should avoid possible discrimination issues related to employee name changes, such as to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals

Beginning January 22, 2017, employers must use a new version of the Form I-9 with the revision date of “11/14/2016 N.”  Until January 22, employers may continue to use the March 8, 2013 version.

It remains illegal for employers to discriminate in the hiring, discharge, recruitment and verification process based on an individual’s citizenship status, immigration status, or national origin.  Also, it is unlawful under federal and California Law (Labor Code Section 1019.1) for an employer to ask an employee for a specific work authorization document, or to ask for more or different documents during the I-9 process.

Union and worker advocates should note that employers do NOT need to complete the new Form I-9 for current employees for whom there is already a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless reverification applies.  If an employer attempts to use the publishing of this new version of the Form I-9 as a means to reverify workers’ employment authorization documents at a time or in a manner not required by federal law, it may be acting illegally.

Please contact your legal counsel or Union representative with any questions, or if you believe your employer may be acting illegally.

By Tiffany Crain Altamirano | January 9, 2017

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