Any company looking to hire employees has something new to look out for this year. The U.S. Department of Labor has released a new version of the I-9 Form, and requires its use after January 22nd, 2017.
The I-9 form is used to verify that an applicant is eligible to work in the United States. It is the responsibility of both the employer and the employee to complete the form. It requires a form of identification such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport in order to certify.
How is the new I-9 different than the old I-9? It has essentially become a “smart document, ” adopting many tools that save time and help to avoid inaccuracies. It includes filters that avoid having to put in information more than once, removes options that are not applicable based off of previous choices, and has drop down menus and tooltips that make the form more user friendly.
One of the big new features is the alert system, which will inform the employer that a required field was left blank, saving a lot of headaches that can come from submitting an incomplete form. These options all help make the I-9 less dense and easier to understand. Overall, the new features are designed to avoid inaccuracies and make the form easier to use.
Not everything has changed, though. For one, a smart document does not mean it is 100% digital. Employers are still required to have a physical copy of each I-9 on file. The completion window also hasn’t changed, and the certification documents remain the same.
Why is it important to make sure you are using the new version of the I-9? Immigration and Customs Enforcement can perform an audit and fine your company for using old forms and having inaccuracies. Those fines can range from $110-$1,100 per violation. A company was hit in 2015 by a massive $605,250 fine for not taking I-9 compliance seriously.
To avoid running into trouble with an ICE audit, use these tips:
- Check the header of your I-9 form for the expiration date
- Verify that all fields are filled in on each I-9
- Double check that the fields contain no typos or inaccuracies
The new I-9 form is designed to be easier to use and to reduce headaches for employers, candidates, and the government. Make sure to use the right form, check it twice, and you’ll be ready to bring your new employee on board!
Work with a company that is an expert in screening new applicants and existing employees. Contact ClearStar today!