Employers should double check that new hires are filling out the revised I-9 form as of Jan. 22.
While the regulations and the deadline — three days within employment — are the same, there are some changes to the employment eligibility verification form.
The form, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is available as a fillable PDF with a few changes, such as a new “citizenship/immigration status” section, drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, and on-screen prompts for every field.
The instruction sheet and I-9 form also are available in Spanish.
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Form I-9 can only be filed in Spanish in Puerto Rico; however, the form can be used as a translation guide for employers, says Karen Elliott, member at law firm Eckert Seamans.
The Richmond-based attorney adds that despite smart features, form I-9 is not truly electronic.
While employees can type everything into the PDF file, the form still needs to be printed out, signed with a pen and scanned, Elliott says.
Employers also need to re-type the information for e-verification, as the form cannot be integrated with HR software.
“The idea is that it will help people comply better, which would be consistent with the Trump pre-inauguration statements,” she says, of e-verification.
President-elect Donald Trump has also spoken to the issue of deporting undocumented immigrants.
In recent history, Republican candidates have been more likely to initiate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement audits.
“When you had a wage and hour audit, the investigators were also instructed to review your I-9s,” she says. “That practice stopped when Obama came in.”
Elliott says she didn’t see any ICE audits for her clients, but she notes that she works out of Virginia and not out of Texas or California.
Elliott says the speculation is that ICE audits will increase under Trump’s administration as well.
“As a practical matter, most employment lawyers are expecting to have heightened scrutiny in that area to make sure employers are utilizing the resources” to hire people legally, she says.
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