Employers Should Note Significant Changes to I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form

After 4/3/09, employers are required to use a newly revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form, to verify the employment authorization of their new employees. Only the new form, which has “Rev 02/02/09” at the bottom of the page, should be used for all employees hired on or or after 4/3/09 or for employees whose work authorization needs to be re-verified on or after 4/3/09. All previous editions of Form I-9 are no longer valid for use. The government also released a new version of the Employer Handbook (M-274), which provides instructions for completing Form I-9.

The most significant change to the Form I-9 is the requirement that all documents presented during the I-9 verification process must be unexpired. The government has also added additional documents that may be used for verification. Human Resource and Personnel departments should carefully review the revisions and ensure that they are compliant with the new rules. Failure to do so may result in civil fines.

Employers should not require existing employees to complete new Forms I-9 unless re-verification of work authorization is required. The employer may be subjected to allegations of discrimination under federal law if the employer requests unnecessary documentation or unnecessary completion of new Form I-9s. If the employer knows or suspects the employee is not authorized to work legally, the employer should seek legal advice in the proper investigation or termination of the employee.

Employers and employees should feel free to contact Yan Bennett at Maselli Warren, P.C. with any immigration questions.