Planning for Revised Form I-9

As many of you know, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the newly revised Form I-9 on March 8, 2013. The announcement requires implementation of the new Form I-9 by May 7, 2013.

During this past week, many of you have asked questions related to the future release and use of Form I-9. The following information is provided in an effort to keep you informed of the progress made thus far.

 

Q: When will the revised Form be released?

Lookout’s development efforts began in November based upon the Proposed Version of the Revised Form. However, the Final Version approved by the government included significant changes in Section 2 List A. Designs and plans to accommodate the changes announced on March 8th are still progressing. Currently Lookout anticipates release in early April.

Q: Will Lookout customers receive advance notice of the release date?

Yes.

Q: How much advance notice will customers receive before the release to the Lookout system?

Our goal is to provide at least a one week notice before the release of the new form.

Q: When should the employer begin training related to the new Form I-9?

Employers may choose to provide Revised Form I-9 training at any time.

Q: Will Lookout provide training related to use of the Lookout application as it relates to the new Form I-9?

Yes, a training date will be announced next week. This training will highlight the added fields and the rules associated with them.

Q: What changes should users expect to see when completing the new form I-9 via the Lookout system?

The Lookout system Form I-9 will look like the paper version of the revised form. Logic will be added to our “run checks” feature to account for the new business rules associated with the changes.

 

We hope that this information assists you in your planning. We appreciate your patience as we work to complete the task at hand. Please contact customer support, help@lookoutservices.net, if you have any questions or concerns related to this notification.

Revised Form I-9 Released

Lookout’s Development Efforts Already Underway

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the newly revised Form I-9 is now approved for use. The announcement includes an implementation grace period through May 7, 2013 to allow employers to revise their internal processes to incorporate the use of the new form. The new Form I-9 has extended Section 1 to request additional information from the new hire. The additional information requested includes, telephone, email, and foreign passport information, where applicable. In addition, the Form I-9 itself now consists of 2 pages. The Federal Register Notice (78 FR 15030) indicates that the new Form I-9 may be obtained by visiting the I-9 Central website, www.uscis.gov/I-9Central. USCIS has also released a new corresponding Handbook for Employers (Form M-274) as of March 8, 2013.

Lookout’s development efforts are well underway. Lookout Services’ development team began programming these changes late last year with the expectation that the revised Form I-9 would eventually receive approval. However, initial review indicates that USCIS has made additional changes to the revised Form I-9 since the draft Form I-9 was issued in October of 2012. Our business and development team will be reviewing these changes and planning for their inclusion in our development efforts. However, Lookout is committed to publishing the new Form I-9 before the grace period ends. Lookout will continue to provide updates as the final development effort progresses.

The Human Element

As I-9 Program Administrators, you know the challenges presented by the human element. Electronic Form I-9 systems with real-time error-checking go a long way toward eliminating the issues created by the human element. But, even with error-checking software in place, there are still certain pitfalls that can occur.

  • Your I-9 Processor ignores the system alerts and prompts resulting in an erroneously completed Form I-9.
  • Your I-9 Processor does not know what to do when the new hire fails to present documents within 3 days of hire.
  • Your I-9 Processor does not know what to do with an incomplete Form I-9 if the new hire quits before the I-9 is completed.
  • Your I-9 Processor does not know what to do with an incomplete Form I-9 if the new hire never begins work.

Due to unique factors in your organization, many of these pitfalls require management and legal input to determine the best action to take. These determinations should be described in an I-9 policy manual and taught to I-9 processors during training sessions. In addition, a Program Administrator should be responsible for oversight and management of the organizations I-9 processing and policy enforcement.

Once again, electronic Form I-9 systems add efficiency to the oversight of Form I-9 processing. The ability to pull reports and search for specific events saves significant time. However, if your Program Administrator is not utilizing the reports regularly and effectively, your organization may find compliance issues continue to be overlooked.

Administrators should perform the following functions on a systematic basis to insure I-9 Policy and Program effectiveness.

  • Review all Form I-9s containing errors
  • Delete I-9s for new hires who never began work
  • Terminate I-9s for new hires who failed to provide documents to complete I-9
  • Resolve any curable errors, i.e., typos, conflicts of status, etc, for active employees
  • Compare Payroll records to Form I-9 records
  • Update Termination dates
  • Purge Retention Expired Form I-9s

If you require instruction or assistance on how to perform these tasks in the Lookout system, please contact Customer Support at 713-668-6200 x2. We look forward to the opportunity to assist you in managing the human element in your I-9 processing.

Year-End Compliance Check

Here are 5 things that you can do as the year comes to a close to evaluate compliance with E-Verify and Form I-9. See how your end users are doing and how your Compliance Program performed in 2012. We invite you to contact us for assistance with these or any other matters you discover during your review.

  • Review all Open E-verify cases: Identify any cases which have been open for more than 10 days, discover the reasons for untimely completion, resolve issues, and complete cases.
  • Update Termination Dates: Request termination dates from payroll, and batch process termination dates to I-9 records.
  • Match I-9s and Payroll: Request employee list from payroll, batch process Matching I-9 records against employee list.
  • Review Three Days Section 2 Unsigned Report: Identify unsigned I-9 Records, discover the reasons for untimely completion, resolve issues, and complete signatures.
  • Review Retention Expired Records: Identify retention expired records using the Retention Report, then notify Lookout for assistance with record removal.

Field Guidance on Electronically Generated Forms I-9

Although the regulations for the Electronic Generation, Signature, and Storage of Form I-9 have been in existence for several years, Department of Homeland Security recently released a Memorandum which provides guidance to field officers conducting audits of Forms I-9 created in electronic I-9 systems. This guidance has prompted auditors to engage in not only an audit of Form I-9, but also a review of how electronic generation, signature, and storage are accomplished in the Form I-9 system.

Employers may be asked to complete questionnaires which provide insight into the workings of the electronic system. Auditors are also likely to request a real-time demonstration of the Form I-9 process using the electronic system. Both requests are designed to allow the auditor to assess the electronic system’s compliance with the regulations.

The regulations governing electronic processing of Form I-9 are found at 8 CFR section 274a.2(e), (f), (g), and (i). These requirements are also addressed in the Handbook for Employers (M-274) beginning on page 24.

Form I-9 Changes Still Pending

In March, USCIS proposed some significant changes to Form I-9. These changes included adding employee phone number and email as optional fields in Section 1. The proposal also called for requesting additional details in Section 1 for Aliens Authorized to Work in the United States, such as foreign passport number and country of issuance. A significant number of comments were received during the comment period. Common submissions signaled concerns about employee confusion during Section 1 completion and the additional time required for processing the two page form. As of this writing, the proposed form remains pending. USCIS has instructed employers to continue using Form I-9 (Rev. 08/07/09) Y despite the form’s expiration date of 08/31/2012.