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Updated Form I-9 for Verifying Employment Eligibility of Workers

April 1, 2013

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services recently revised the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to expand it to two pages, to provide additional data fields such as for the worker's e-mail address and phone number, and to provide enhanced instructions. According to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, only individuals legally eligible to work in the United States may be employed by US organizations, and Form I-9 must be completed by all employers to verify that new hires are eligible to work in the USA. Section 1 of Form I-9 should be completed by each new employee no later than the first day of employment. The employee will be also required to present proof of identity and employment authorization to the employer so that the employer can complete Section 2 of Form I-9 within 3 days of the worker's first day of employment. The instructions to Form I-9 contain the list of acceptable documents that employees can provide, and employees must provide either one document from List A or a combination of one document from List B and one from List C. The employer may, but is not required to, photocopy the document(s) presented by the employee. If photocopies are made, they should be made for all new hires or reverifications and they must be kept with the completed Form I-9.

Both the employee and the employer must sign Form I-9, and the completed Form I-9 on each worker should be retained by the employer in a separate file for each worker. Once the individual's employment ends, the employer must retain the Form I-9 for either 3 years after the date of hire or 1 year after the date employment ended, whichever is later. Failure by an employer to ensure proper completion and retention of Forms I-9 may subject the employer to civil monetary penalties and, in some cases, criminal penalties. In addition, Forms I-9 can be requested and reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Accordingly, we recommend retaining signed I-9 forms in files separate from the personnel files for employees, because while DHS has no authority to review personnel files, they may use any information discovered in a personnel file if given access to it.

The revised version of this form is effective immediately, and as of May 7, 2013, it will be the only acceptable version of the form. Form I-9 and its instructions can be obtained online at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf.

Please feel free to contact your tax advisor at The Marston Group, PLC if you have any questions about this form and its requirements.

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