The new I-9 is here

The new Form I-9 is now available. Farmers should begin using the new form immediately for all new hires.

The I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form is required to be filled out for every newly hired employee on the farm (applies to all individuals hired after Nov. 6, 1986, with some limitations). The Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States” and this applies to citizens and noncitizens that are employed.

The new Form I-9 is nine pages in its entirety, but the actual form is two pages (three if the list of acceptable documents is included) with additional pages of expanded instructions.

New changes in the I-9 include:

  • Expanded instructions to help ensure accurate completion.
  • Two pages of input, including the employee completed section on a separate page from the Employer completed section.
  • New fields for email address, phone number and foreign passport in Section 1.

The Form I-9 is available for download at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Also available on the USCIS site are helpful trainings for employers and a new Handbook for Employers (M-274) that all employers should download and read. The Handbook for Employers contains instructions on the Form I-9, an extensive question and answer section and examples of acceptable documents for the Form I-9.

The new Form I-9 should be used immediately on all new hires, however USCIS is allowing a 60-day implementation period for those who need to change processes and software. The new form must be used starting May 7, 2013.

Employers do not need to complete a new Form I-9 for current employees that already have a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless a new Form I-9 is filled out for re-verification or rehire.

A Spanish version of the Form I-9 is also available on the USCIS site. Employers may use the Spanish version as a “translation guide” for Spanish-speaking employees, but must fill out and keep the English version for their records.

In future weeks, look for organizations to provide analysis of the new Form I-9. One such analysis was recently provided by Craig Anderson, Editor of the Agriculture Labor and Safety Services Newsletter for Michigan Farm Bureau. Farmers can find out more about the ALSS newsletter online.

At recent agriculture labor programs held across the state by Michigan State University Extension, agriculture employers learned how to comply with Form I-9 requirements, other labor law requirements for employers, and resources available for agriculture employers. If you were not able to attend the programs, please plan on attending similar programs to be held in February and March of 2014.

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