It is that time again for the expiring I9 to be updated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). I recall the last time the I9 expired, and we did not have an updated form yet. When that happens, it is acceptable to continue to use the expired I9 until DHS releases an updated version. As a Human Resources professional, I am extremely excited about the proposed changes that were hinted back in August.
One of the items is reducing page 1 and page 2 of the current I9 into just a single page. Not only does it make it easier to manage as a one page document, but reduces the amount of paper that is needed when printing the form.
The other area is to take section three of the I9, which is the Reverification and Rehire Supplement and make it a stand-alone section and only used when needed. That is the biggest issue I face when I audit the forms. The person filling out the I9 signs section two and then without reading inadvertently signs section three. Breaking out that section will aid employers from having that error and facing penalties when someone may not be reading all the words.
The other proposed changes are updating the List of Acceptable Documents so that it shows more options for employees to use when verifying their work status, reducing the fifteen pages of instructions down to seven, and updating the PDF enhancements so it can be used on all electronic devices.
Finally, the best news for me is to allow an employee to leave fields blank when they do not apply. For years I have been stressing the importance of the “N/A” being put in the “Other Last Names Used” box for it to be complete. That seems to be the most common field left blank over my years of auditing I9’s. The new proposal would make it ok to leave it blank if it does not apply to the individual.
So for now, keep the current form and continue to use it until DHS releases the updated version. For more information on how to complete an I9 or for assistance on completing an I9 audit, please reach out to OmniaHR today.