Changes in Human Resources
The news is full of interesting stories. Regardless of your party, legislators are discussing immigration, health care and elections. It cannot be easy to keep up.
Equifax Workforce Solutions was able to help us understand the proposed changes to Form I-9 in 2013. They were so helpful that I asked them if they could update us. Jason Fry, Sr. director of product management at Equifax Workforce Solutions, said “yes”.
I just learned that the new Form I-9 had been released. What were the changes made to this Form?
This Form I-9 is the second published in the last 12 months. In an earlier blog post, we reported that the new Form I-9 would include changes to allow entrepreneurs to enter the country as part of the ‘International Entrepreneur Rule (aka IE Rule). They will need to show their foreign passport and I-94 in Section 2.
On July 11, notice in Federal Register was published regarding a delay in the effective date for the IE Rule. This notice allowed additional comments to be made. The new Form I-9 did not include the updates to address the IE Rule.
- Revision of the instructions and updating of the list of acceptable documents to include the Department of State’s FS-240 Consular Record of Birth Abroad to List A
- Modifications to the language used in instructions relating to “the end of” when describing the date that the Form I-9 must complete are made.
- Revised to reflect the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices(OSC) name change at the Immigrant & Employee Rights Section (IER) in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
How long does it take for employers to implement the new Forms?
Is it a good time to have an employer do a Form I-9 audit with this change? Why or not?
Employers should consider an I-9 audit. Employers should correct Forms I-9 according to the law after completing audits. Employers do not have to wait for the new Form I-9 version to start identifying and remediating risks in their I-9 databases.
I-9 compliance is more important than ever. There are many factors. Employers must ensure they have I-9s to reduce compliance risk.
- When Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) knocks on your door, you won’t have the time to fix I-9s. Employers have only three business days to submit documents for audit after ICE has served a Notice of Inspection.
- There is a lot of risk in your I-9 archives. Jackson Lewis P.C. industry attorney says that 60 to 80 percent of paper I-9s pose a risk because they are missing, incomplete or contain errors.
- You may be keeping Forms beyond the retention requirements if you haven’t audited I-9 files in a while. Employers can be penalized for any errors made, even if the files should have been deleted months ago or years ago.
- If you do not address these issues immediately, it will cost you. Effective August 1, 2016, penalties almost doubled. This new fine structure applies to violations committed after November 2, 2015.
- ICE is stepping up its enforcement efforts. Homeland Security has requested 10,000 new ICE officers, and ICE auditors are expected to triple.
What are 2 things employers should consider when conducting an audit?
- Optimize- When you audit your Forms I-9, delete those not meeting retention requirements. This will eliminate errors and save your team time and energy in resolving any issues with documents beyond the retention deadline. Employers are subject to audits regardless of whether they have met the retention requirements. It is also subject to audit if it is retained due to improper data/form retention hygiene.
- Prioritize, Sort and prioritize your issues to focus resources on the most important issues or those that can be easily fixed. Joint guidance was provided by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to assist employers in performing an internal audit and correcting any errors or omissions.
I sincerely thank Jason and Equifax Workforce Solutions for keeping us updated on this matter. You can read more about the changes to Form I-9 on the Equifax Workforce Solutions Blog.
Human resources professionals spend a lot of time recruiting, engaging, and keeping the best talent. Changes proposed on Form I-9 can seem like pesky flies at a summer picnic. It is important to communicate to employees that staying compliant is a priority. This sends a positive message and can be a source of employee pride.