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Form I-9 Changes: Will Your Onboarding Process Suffer?

l aware that a new version of the Employee Eligibility Verification Form I-9 was released on March 8, 2013.  As of May 7, 2013, employers must now only use the new Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13). However, some industry buzz may have you wondering if your well-honed onboarding process needs to be tweaked. Here are some answers.

In a teleconference held on March 11, 2013, the new Form 1-9 was introduced, which is summarized here and features these noteworthy changes:

  • An expanded six pages of instructions, meant to more fully describe information employees must enter in Section 1, employers’ responsibilities for Section 2, employer responsibilities (including when reverification is necessary) for Section 3.
  • Additional data fields, including foreign passport information (if applicable), telephone number, and email address.
  • Revised layout, which expands the form to two pages instead of one.

A change of particular note is what some employers defined as a mandate against electronically pre-populating Section 1, a common, time-saving practice for many. To add legs to the new rule, USCIS has vowed to fine up to $1,100 for each form found to violate this requirement, even on first offense. Does the effort to ensure the employee fills out Section 1 information directly throw a wrench into many well-honed onboarding processes?

Trevor Kupfer raised that question late last week in an article for Staffing Talk. His point of confusion has to do with pre-populating Section 1. Is pre-populating or auto-filling Section 1 information now strictly forbidden?

Sheila Gladstone, an employment law attorney with Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, PC, in Austin, TX, believes the pre-population issue is not as dire or confusing as some seem to think.

“In an April 11, 2013, document, DHS answered additional questions arising from the earlier press conference, and clarified that pre-population is permissible, if the employer and the employee complete the ‘Preparer and/or Translator Certification’ portion of Section 1,” Gladstone explains.  “As long as the employee verifies that the information inputted in Section 1 is correct, pre-population is not a problem.”

In fact, on the I-9 Central website, ICE recently added the following question and answer to its section on ”How to Complete an I-9”:

Q.  Should I complete the Preparer/Translator section if the company automatically fills out Section 1 for the new employee?

A.  Yes, if Section 1 is prepared by someone other than the new employee, the Preparer/Translator section should be completed.

Be sure to read the new Form 1-9 Handbook for Employers thoroughly. If your process includes pre-populating any Section 1 information, take steps to verify your compliance. Contact the support line at (888)-464-4218 or request a customized webinar by emailing E-Verify at E-Verify@dhs.gov.

 

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