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Use of New Revised I-9 Form Becomes Mandatory in September

By:  R. Eddie Wayland, TCA Legal Counsel

On July 17, 2017 the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), released a revised version of the Form I-9, also known as the Employment Eligibility Verification Form. This revised Form I-9 replaces the previous version of the Form released on November 14, 2016. Use of the new Form I-9 must be implemented on or before September 18, 2017.

Employers may continue to use the previous version of the Form I-9 until September 18, 2017 when the use of the revised Form I-9 becomes mandatory. It is recommended, however, that employers promptly transition to the new revised Form I-9 to avoid any potential penalties. The new version of the Form has “17/17/17N” printed on the bottom of the Form as its revision date.

The new revised Form I-9 can be downloaded at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. The USCIS has also released a new handbook for employers that provides guidance for completing Form I-9. This handbook can also be downloaded here.

Revisions to the new Form I-9

The changes to the new Form I-9 are not dramatic. The revised form removes the words “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment” and asks for “other last names used” instead of “other names used.” As to the structure of the Form, it now provides an area to write in additional information if needed, and an area to enter multiple preparers and translators if they were used. The revised Form also adds the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to the List C as an acceptable document. This results in a slight renumbering of the List C documents.

Revisions to Penalties

Employers should be aware that the penalties relating to Form I-9 violations were substantially increased in August 2016. The two types of violations most heavily punished are: (1) employment of individuals who are not authorized to work in the U.S., and (2) Form I-9 paperwork errors. Fines for the unlawful employment of unauthorized workers now range from $539 to $4,313 per worker for the first offense, with increased fines for second and third offenses. Fines for even simple Form I-9 paperwork error type violations range from $216 to $2,156 per violation, with increased fines for second and third offenses. The penalties relating to these and other Form I-9 violations, especially when they are multiple or repeated, can result in very substantial cumulative fines.

Takeaway

Verification of an employee’s eligibility and authorization to work in the U.S. continues to be an area of regulatory focus. Due to the potential stiff fines for even simple errors in filling out the Form I-9, it is important for trucking industry employers to use the correct form and to make sure the Form is filled out correctly. Individuals charged with the responsibility for the Form I-9 process and for filling out and completing the Form I-9 and process should be trained on the proper steps and requirements for correctly accomplishing this task. Consistently and correctly completing and filling out the Form I-9 are the best safeguards to prevent fines and penalties. If questions regarding compliance or procedures arise, consultation with counsel well versed in immigration related matters may be warranted.

R. Eddie Wayland is a partner with the law firm of King & Ballow.  You may reach Mr. Wayland at (615) 726-5430 or at rew@kingballow.com.  The foregoing materials, discussion and comments have been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed as legal advice on specific situations or subjects.

August 15, 2017

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