This spring, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released an updated version of its Employment Eligibility Verification
Form I-9. And as of May 8, 2013, employers are required to start using it. The updated I-9 form is intended to be more user-friendly
and includes detailed instructions for both employers and employees. It also includes changes to current sections and the
addition of new sections, all in an attempt to eliminate common errors and pitfalls when filling out the forms. So what does
this mean for your practice? Continue reading to find out.
What is employment eligibility verification?
First, let's cover some I-9 basics. Beginning in 1986, the Immigration Control and Reform Act was enacted to help prevent
illegal aliens from gaining employment in the United States. Employers, regardless of size, are required to obtain documentation
from every new hire in order to verify that employee's eligibility for employment in the United States. The term "employee"
refers to full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal staff members but does not pertain to independent contractors. You
do not have to obtain I-9 documentation from contract workers.
An employer must review the documents presented by each employee and attest to his or her belief that the documents are genuine
by signing the I-9 form. Watch for expiration dates on documents and reject any document that doesn't seem authentic. You
are not, however, responsible for guaranteeing the authenticity of the documents.
Completing the I-9 form
Employees must be given the I-9 form upon hire and complete Section 1 (with or without the assistance of a translator) on
their first day of work. While a Spanish version of the form is available, it is only to be used as a reference for Spanish-speaking
employees. The English version of the form must be on file with the employer for all employees, even if the employee's primary
language is not English. By completing Section 1 of the form, the employee is affirming that he or she is eligible to work
in the United States.
Section 2 must be completed by the employer within three days of the employee's hire date. A detailed list of acceptable documents
is included on the I-9 form. Documents are divided into three categories. Documents in List A satisfy the requirement to establish
both identity and employment authorization. If an employee supplies a document from this list, only one document is required.
List B contains documents that establish identity, while List C includes documents that establish employment authorization.
A document from List B and a document from List C must be provided together to fulfill the requirements of the I-9 form if
nothing from List A is available.
Section 3 pertains to reverifications and rehires. It's used only if a worker's documentation has expired or the employee
is rehired within a three-year period after termination. You also have the option of completing a new I-9 form for the rehired
employee. With the updated I-9 form now in use, use that for a rehired employee rather than Section 3 of the former I-9 form.
An I-9 must also be kept on file for the practice owner unless the practice is a sole proprietorship. Sole proprietors don't
need to keep I-9 forms for themselves, but they do need them for employees, just like any other veterinary practice entity