USCIS Issues New Form I-9, Required by Employers, Effective May 1, 2020

On January 31, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification that all employers must begin using on May 1, 2020.

What is an I-9?

The Form I-9 is a document that Wisconsin employers (and all U.S. employers) must complete to verify the identity and employment authorization of every new employee (both citizens and noncitizens) hired after November 6, 1986, to work in the United States.

Employers are liable for all errors on the form and must retain Forms I-9 for inspection for a certain period of time after an employee leaves the company (either one year after the date of termination or three years after the hire date, whichever date is later).

What is different on the new Form I-9?

  • Minor changes for the unfillable version
  • On the paper version of Form I-9 (the unfillable version of Form I-9) only the version date and the Office of Management and Budget date have changed.

    Despite these minor changes, as of May 1, 2020, employers using the old version of the form will be in violation of Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), enforced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a “substantive error.”

  • Changes have been made to the Instructions to Form I-9 that clarify a few items:
    • Who can act as an authorized representative has changed -- specifically, the employer may designate any person as an authorized representative to act on its behalf to complete Section 2; and that a company does not need to insert “N/A” on unused lines in the List A, B and C columns.
    • A notation that the List C Employment Authorization Document issued by the Department of Homeland Security is not the same as the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) from List A.
    • For List B, it clarifies that the identification card issued by a federal, state or local government agency is not the same as a “driver’s license or ID card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States.”
  • Privacy Notice Changes

USCIS updated the DHS Privacy Notice to employees, which is included in the form instructions.  The major change to the Privacy Notice is the notification that Form I-9 may be made available for inspection, and that DHS may share the information on the form, as appropriate, for law enforcement purposes or in the interest of national security.

A good opportunity to review your hiring policies

Although these changes appear minor, they present a good opportunity for employers to review their hiring policies to ensure they are properly completing and retaining Forms I-9.

Given the increase in government I-9 audits over recent years, we recommend that companies regularly conduct internal audits of Forms I-9; properly correcting errors, when possible. We also recommend that employers purge Forms I-9 for former employees that are no longer required to be retained due to the expiration of the retention period.

Additional questions on Form I-9 or other employment immigration matters?

The immigration lawyers at Murphy Desmond are available to answer questions about completing the Form I-9 or other employer-based immigration matters. Call the firm on our immigration and bilingual telephone line at 608.270.5550 or email us at infoimmigration@murphydesmond.com. The firm has offices in Madison, Janesville, Appleton, and Dodgeville, Wisconsin, to assist you with all of your business and family immigration legal needs.

Published May 12, 2020

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