The 2017 Form I-9: Compliance Considerations for Employers

The 2017 Form I-9: Compliance Considerations for Employers
Marketing Director

Earlier this summer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of the Form I-9 on July 17, 2017. As of September 18, 2017, employers are now required to use the updated form with a revision date of 07/17/17 N. While the changes were relatively minor compared to the one released in November 2016, here’s an overview of what you need to know to ensure I-9 compliance for your organization.

What’s Changed in the New Version: A Synopsis

The latest version of the Form I-9 includes the following four key changes:

  1. All references to the Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices have been changed to reference the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  2. The deadline for Section 1 of the Form I-9 no longer says “the end of” when referencing “the first day of employment.” This is to reflect the fact that the regulations require that it be completed at the time that the person starts working for pay.
  3. The List of Acceptable Documents have changed as follows:
    • List C now includes the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240);
    • Certifications of birth abroad have been consolidated into a single item; and
    • List C documents have been renumbered (except for the Social Security card).
  4. The Handbook for Employers was also changed and made into an interactive web-based document.

I-9 Compliance: What You Need to Know

While every employer is now required to utilize the revised version of the Form I-9 (dated 07/17/17), they should not complete new forms for current employees. USCIS states employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

If you haven’t already done so, download the latest version of the Form I-9 with the revised date of 07/17/17 and begin using it immediately when onboarding new employees. If your organization uses paper Form I-9s, ensure everyone at your organization is using the correct version of the form and discard all copies of previous versions of the Form I-9 that are no longer valid.

Finally, consider reviewing your I-9 policies and procedures with USCIS removing “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment” regarding the completion of Section 1. “While the agency did not specify the reason for this change, it was likely made to ensure consistency with the regulations which indicate that Section 1 must be completed ‘at the time of hire,’ without any reference to the time of day,” John Fay, Vice President and General Counsel at Hyland Software, states in a recent SHRM article. “Employers may want to revisit their own I-9 policies and procedures to ensure that Section 1 is completed no later than when the employee starts work for pay.”

Additional I-9 Resources Available

Since the deadline to begin using the new Form I-9 went into effect, USCIS has released a few resources to help employers comply with the revised form. On September 29, the agency released a free on-demand webinar which covers demonstrations on completing all sections and other tips to stay compliant. Earlier this year, PreCheck released our own white paper, “The Form I-9 and E-Verify: Keys to Compliance,” which offers helpful pointers for ensuring compliance as well as an overview of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.

While changes to the Form I-9 released this summer were mostly minor, I-9 compliance remains a critical part of the hiring process. By staying ahead of the latest changes, however subtle they may be, employers can ensure compliance and mitigate risk at their organizations.