The New I-9 Forms Are Out
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department has released a new I-9 form, which requires employers to attest that the documentation presented by a new employee appears to be genuine and in order. The employee is also required to attest that they were legally entitled to work in the United States. The new form is dated 03/08/2013 and must be put into use by employers effective May 7. You can confirm which version of the form you are using since the date of the version number is printed in the lower left corner of each page of the form.
The New I-9 Form
As before, employers are required to execute the process for all new U.S. hires, but now the form has grown to nine pages. Section 1 (page 1) is to be filled out by the employer, Section 2 (page 2) is to be filled out by the employee and page 3 contains a list of acceptable documentation that an employee can present.
The other 6 pages contain instructions and explanations which now contain updated and expanded requirements specifically relating to expanded criteria in handling job applicants with disabilities and the while not specifically mentioned, there is the issue of how to process the so called “Dreamers” with Deferred prosecution Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
- Expanded instructions to the employee as to how to fill out the form even if undocumented but with work authorization.
- Expanded instructions to the employers representative
- Addition of (optional) employee e-mail address and phone number
- Separation of the sections for the employee and employer onto separate pages.
- More emphasis is now placed on the onus of the employer to examine the employment eligibility and identity documents each new employee presents and record the information on the form. Employers are expected to determine and attest under the penalty of perjury whether the documents (1) reasonably appear to be genuine and (2) relate to the employee. The list of acceptable documents is printed on the last page of the form. UCIS has published and informational handbook on How to fill out Form I-9.
- The form is available in English and Spanish however the Spanish version is only approved for use only in Puerto Rico, so U.S. employers must use the English version, even if a new hire speaks only Spanish.
- Definition of “Disabled” is given broader interpretation, which is outlined in the I-9 instructions pages.
- The creation of a class of applicant – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that is authorized to work in the US is something that needs to be understood and handled correctly. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services (DCIS) has published an informational handbook on DACA on their website. Note that the instructions specifically refer to the fact that refusing to accept unexpired work authorization documents could be classed as discrimination and an unfair employment practice, and goes so far as to give contact phone numbers and web sites in this regard.
- In 2008, President Obama signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). The act’s purpose is to enable the definition of “disability” to cover a broader range of individuals without the need for extensive analysis. Be aware that some of the changes to the ADA make fairly significant adjustments in the way disability is determined and how employers must treat individuals when they are hired, fired, promoted or given raises, to avoid discrimination. For instance, the prohibition against discrimination now extends, not only to employees themselves, but also to anyone who has a close family member that is disabled (for example, employers cannot discriminate against the parent of a disabled child).
When in doubt, it would be money well spent to contact an HR specialist to help guide you through the legal minefield.