Thinking of making some late spring or summer hires? Hirer beware: the current Form I-9 expires on 3/31/2016. The Department of Homeland Security will be issuing the most current version on or before that date (just in time for April Fool’s Day!). Employers can visit https://www.uscis.gov/i-9 to get the most updated information on the new I-9. Until further notice, employers should continue using Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This current version of the form continues to be effective even after the Office of Management and Budget control number expiration date of March 31, 2016, has passed. USCIS promises to provide updated information about the new version of Form I-9 as it becomes available. (Read: ok, so we have a form we’re telling you is outdated and even though we knew the date was coming up, we didn’t update it yet and you have to keep checking to discover when we do.)
Your employees who have already filled out a Form I-9 (03/08/13 N) are not required to complete the new version. However, as you prepare to have new employees fill out the most current Form I-9, you might take this opportunity to refresh you company’s familiarity with the I-9 process. The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services “Handbook for Employers” (available here: https://formi9.com/pdf/FAQ.pdf) provides helpful guidance and “FAQs” about the verification process, valid documents, completing and retaining the Form I-9, avoiding discrimination, and more. Here are a few helpful FAQs and answers to get your feet wet:
Q. If someone accepts a job with my company but will not start work for a month, can I complete Form I-9 when the employee accepts the job?
A. Yes. The law requires that you complete the Form I-9 only when the person actually begins working for pay. However, you may complete the form earlier, as long as the person has been offered and has accepted the job. You may not use the Form I-9 process to screen job applicants.
Q. Do I need to complete a new Form I-9 when one of my employees is promoted within my company or transfers to another company office at a different location?
A. No. You do not need to complete a new Form I-9 for employees who have been promoted or transferred.
Q. How can I protect private information on Forms I-9?
A. Since Form I-9 contains an employee’s private information, and you are required to retain forms for specific periods of time, you should ensure that you protect that private information, and that it is used only for Form I-9 purposes. To protect employees’ private information, ensure that completed Forms I-9 and all supporting documents, including photocopies of documents, as well as information regarding employment authorization if you participate in E-Verify, are stored in a safe, secure location that only authorized individuals can access.
For even more information and “FAQs,” we encourage you to visithttps://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/i-9-central-questions-answers/questions-and-answersfor “I-9 Central” Questions and Answers.
This article is not legal advice but should be considered as general guidance in the area of employment and corporate law. Rebecca Webber and Jordan Payne, the author of this article, are employment attorneys; others at the firm handle business and other matters. You can contact us at 784-3200 (telephone). Skelton Taintor & Abbott is a full service law firm providing legal services to individuals, companies, and municipalities throughout Maine. It has been in operation since its founding in 1853.