January 9, 2017

New Electronic Form I-9 Requirements and Increased Penalties Coming

A new, electronic version of Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, was recently published by The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Federal immigration law requires that US employers ensure proper completion of the Form I-9 for each employee they hire. Employers may begin using the new form immediately, but are required to use it after January 21, 2017. The penalties for non-compliance dramatically increased recently as well, making it critical that employers become familiar and comply with the new form.

Form Changes

The new form is available as a PDF document, and includes innovative “smart” features to simplify the completion process for employers and employees. New features include drop-down menus, hover text, and real-time error messages.

However, whether filling out the electronic or paper version of the new form, employers are still required to sign a printed version and retain a hard copy.

Increased Fines for I-9 Non-Compliance

A revised fine schedule for I-9 violations took effect August 2016, implementing significantly higher civil fines against employers who commit certain immigration-related offenses. For each Form I-9 paperwork violation the fine range nearly doubled to $216–$2,156.

New Penalty Ranges for Common Violations

  • Form I-9 Paperwork Violation: $216 – $2,156 per violation
  • Knowingly Employing Unauthorized Workers: $539 – $21,563 per violation
  • Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices: up to $17,816 per violation
  • Document Abuse: $178 – $1782 per violation

Employers can view a table of all new fines for immigration-related offenses.

Although the increase in fines took effect August 2016, these fines apply to all Form I-9 violations that took place after November 2, 2015. Therefore, employers should now review their Form I-9 records to ensure compliance with the law. Contact an Anders advisor if you have any questions about the new I-9 form or compliance requirements.

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