The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has issued a new Form I-9, and beginning August 1, employers have been asked to switch to the streamlined version of the form. While there is a buffer before penalties start in October, learning what the I-9 update means for your onboarding process. The sooner you can make the switch, the less risk there will be that you'll face penalties later.
Who Needs Form I-9?
Form I-9 is required for all newly hired employees, regardless of whether or not they are citizens. Since this affects the onboarding of all new hires, using the correct form is vital. The form is completed at the time of hire to prove that new hires are either U.S. citizens or lawfully able to work in the United States as noncitizens.
Why Did the I-9 Regulation Change?
During and after COVID, flexible work became commonplace and remote workers needed a straightforward way to verify their employability without the ability to come to the office. While E-Verify has been an option, the new rules create a more straightforward solution that employers can perform verification electronically if needed or desired.
What Does the New Form I-9 Contain?
Section one of the new Form I-9 collects the employee's identifying information. It also contains a self-assessment of whether or not they are citizens or legally able to work in the United States. This section also includes Supplement A, which employees must use if they used translators or preparers to help them with the form.
Section two collects additional documentation to prove the employee's identity and employment eligibility. This section outlines the original documentation the employee must provide.
Supplement B is used if someone is rehired and needs re-verification. It's also the section used if the person's legal name changes.
After the forms are complete, employers hold onto them as long as the person works for them and for one year after employment ends, or three years after they are hired.
What Are Specific Changes to the Forms in the I-9 Update?
The streamlined I-9 form has some specific changes. These include:
- Making Section 1 and Section 2 a single sheet by merging fields when possible.
- Creating a separate sheet for Supplement A, so employers only have to provide this to the employees that need it.
- Changing the terminology "alien authorized to work" to "noncitizen authorized for work."
- Adding clarifying language to differentiate between "noncitizen national" and "noncitizen authorized to work."
- Changing Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, from an area to a standalone sheet labeled Supplement B, so employers only have to use it when required.
- Updating the notice located at the top of the form that describes discrimination concerns.
- Revising the Lists of Acceptable Documents page and the addition of a box employers can use if the documentation was provided under an alternative procedure beyond a physical in-person examination.
Additional Changes to Instructions
In addition to changing the forms, the update changed the instruction documents. Streamlining some of the instructions decreased the number of pages from 15 to 8. In addition, the new instructions added some definitions of key factors that play a role in the process.
To make the instructions shorter, the new form has streamlined steps each person must take to fill in their sections of the form. The instructions also added information about how to use alternative procedures for documentation verification using the checkbox that was added to the form. To add this information while shortening the form, the new instructions no longer have an abbreviations chart. This is now in the M-274 Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9.
What the Changes Mean for Employers
Employers have until October 31, 2023, to begin using the updated Form I-9. Making the switch sooner than later will help you stay compliant. Furthermore, the updated form simplifies the process of conducting remote document reviews for companies that frequently hire remote employees, making it a helpful improvement.
If you need help switching to the new Form I-9 and streamlining your onboarding process, contact Payday Payroll. Our Onboarding Solution can help you stay compliant while bringing on new people successfully.