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What do I need to know about changes to the Federal I-9 Form in 2023?
The Federal I-9 Form is used to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired for employment in the United States. The most recent version of the form was released in October 2021 and expired on 10/31/2022. Employers are still required to use the previous version of the Form I-9 (dated 10/21/2021) until the new form comes out sometime in 2023. Some changes on the new form include:
Additional data fields, including the employee's telephone number and email address
Additional acceptable documents for Form I-9, including the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240)
A new certification for certain foreign nationals who are authorized to work for a specific employer incident to status with Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
A new section for the preparer or translator (if applicable)
A new option for electronic signatures
Additional instructions and clarifications throughout the form
Other Changes of Note:
DHS announced an increase in fines. The penalties range from $252 to $2,507 (previously $237 to $2,360) for the first offense for substantive violations or uncorrected technical errors. This increase in fines means mistakes are even more costly for employers.
The increase in fines is a sign the government views I-9 inspections both as a source of revenue and an immigration law enforcement tool. In its Fiscal Year 2023 “Congressional Justification,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asked Congress for money to hire around 700 new positions in 2023.
Extremely large fines for failure to comply with I-9 requirements are not unheard of. A new, streamlined one-page I-9 will make ICE audits more efficient and investigations of larger employers are likely to become more prevalent.
What Should Employers Do?
Employers should do an internal audit of their I-9 forms and ensure your team is trained on the correct way to complete the forms. If necessary, take corrective action and consult with your attorney to ensure compliance.