The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has approved revisions to the Form I-9 to be released to the public within 90 days. The exact date of release has not been announced. The new form will include much-needed technology features to assist employers in identifying errors. The new form will replace the 2013 version and will be valid until August 31, 2019.
The OMB notice also indicates that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) “may accept the prior version…for 150 days.” Critically, USCIS has not published the form or commented on the OMB notice. It is not yet clear how USCIS intends to roll out implementation of the new I-9. Employers will continue to wait patiently as they have been doing since November 24, 2015, when USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register of proposed changes.
To prepare for the changes to the form, employers should conduct an internal audit to determine if there are mistakes in form completion due to lack of training or misunderstanding of the basic procedures of completing the form. Employers should train employees on the new Form I-9 once it is released. The number of changes to the form and the ability of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use the barcode to identify errors, which can lead to increased fines and penalties for both paperwork and substantive errors, mean this step is more important than ever.