Louisiana Small Business Association
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New I-9 Form for 2020

On January 31, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released its 14th version of the Form I-9.­ The I-9 is the main document used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for each employee they hire employees, including citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form.

According to USCIS guidelines, employers may use the prior version (07/17/17 N) until April 30, 2020. Beginning May 1, 2020, however, employers must use the revised 10/21/19 version.­ The revised Form I-9 is very similar to the previous version but it does include a few clarifications and changes to help employers more clearly understand the document.­

Failure to use the new form may add unnecessary risk and result in fines to your company.­ In addition to using the correct form version, it’s important that you implement and maintain proper procedures for completing the I-9. Monetary penalties for knowingly hiring and continuing to employ unauthorized workers can range from $573 to $20,130 per violation, with repeat offenders receiving penalties at the higher end. Employers should use the new I-9 form for new hires effective May 1, 2020 to avoid penalties. Information relating to recent changes, the new form version, and instructions for completing the form can be accessed at uscis.gov/i-9.

Be sure that the appropriate staff within your business reads and understands the I-9 and how to complete the form.­ Some best practices to use for I-9 compliance:

  • Employers should centralize the I-9 process and create internal processes and procedures for I-9 completion, retention, and storage.
  • Conduct internal training to ensure that employees responsible for this function are well informed and understand anti-discrimination protocols. Do the individuals responsible for I-9 verification know the federal guidelines surrounding the I-9 process?
  • Be sure to verify remote employees properly and timely. Remote employees must still complete Section 1 of the Form I-9 and have their identity and/or work authorization documents reviewed in person by the employer. Photocopying of documents and sending them to employers is not permitted. Employers should provide clear instructions to new hires on how to complete the I-9 process if they are remote workers, and employers should establish a review process for all remotely completed I-9s.
  • Employers should plan on conducting a routine self-audit at least once per year to help ensure ongoing compliance with the employment verification, I-9, and E-Verify rules. Special guidance and rules exist for correcting errors and/or omissions on various sections of the Form I-9 as well as how the employer should properly handle lost, incomplete or outdated I-9s.

Published: 03/05/2020

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