Form I-9 Revisions

form-I9-revisions_blog_staff-management-SMXThe revision of the Form I-9 has been an interesting process as it allowed for public commentary and suggestions. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invited the public to comment on several revisions to the Form I-9 on March 27, 2012. Comments were accepted until May 29, however the amount of feedback received was higher than excepted, thus a Federal Register notice for a 30-day extension for comments was given by USCIS on August 22, 2012. The second commenting period ended on Friday, September 21. Access World News reported that according to the August 22 notice, over 6,200 comments were received during the 60-day comment period which followed the original notice that ended on back in May of 2012.

Changes

USCIS claims that revisions to the current form were necessary as the current Form I-9 was due to expire and required updates to meet the agency form standards and to be more user-friendly. The changes on the new form include expanded Form I-9 instructions and a revised layout, new, optional data fields to collect the employee’s email address and telephone number and new data fields to collect the foreign passport number and country of issuance. Other minor changes include referring to “maiden name” as “other names” and reversing the order in which the first and last name are filled out. Employers should note that only aliens authorized to work in the U.S. who have also recorded their I-94 admission number on Form I-9 will need to provide the foreign passport number and country of issuance. The new form will also be two pages with section one on the first page and sections two and three on the next page.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number expiration date of August 31 has already passed, however, employers will continue using the currently available Form I-9 until an official roll-out of the latest version, otherwise they will be hit with hefty fines. The new Form I-9 is expected to be released early next year. E-verify will also begin the process of updating its capabilities to capture the new data collected. USCIS released a Table of Changes for Form I-9 Instructions and ‘Table of Changes for FORM I-9 ‘. Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently available on the forms section of //www.uscis.gov.

Although the changes, particularly the extended instructions, are in place to add clarification to the form, it is possible that this addition may end up doing just the opposite. Sometimes simple and direct terms make more sense when reading directions. The current document is already lengthy; making it longer may give the new Form I-9 more of a daunting appearance. It’ll be interesting to see what feedback employers can provide once the new Form I-9 is launched.

What do you think about the changes taking place?