Practical Tips for Hiring and Retaining Legal Employees

The hiring process is complicated enough without the additional burden of having to worry about whether potential employees are even eligible to work in the United States. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) prohibits employers from hiring and retaining employees who are not authorized to work in the United States. Under this legislation, employers and potential employees must fill out the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, known as Form I-9, proving that individuals are legally able to work in this country. Employers may be fined if an employee’s Form I-9 is not complete. Employers are also responsible for retaining completed Forms I-9.

An amendment to IRCA allows employers to complete and store Form I-9 either on paper or electronically, or complete Form I-9 on paper and store it electronically. The Department of Homeland Security offers an Internet-based system called E-Verify. E-Verify allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

Overview of Form I-9

On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of the Form I-9.  Beginning May 7, 2013, employers must use the updated Form I-9 for all new hires.

There is no need for employers to replace all Forms I-9 for current employees. However, employers should use Section 3 of the new Form I-9 (and attach it to the already existing Form I-9) if they are re-verifying an employee’s documents.

Form I-9 has three sections—the first is completed by the employee, the second is completed by the employer and the third is completed only when rehire, re-verification or name changes apply.

Re-verification should take place only when the documents an employee presented as proof of his or her eligibility or authorization for employment are about to expire. Also, to transition to the new form, employers rehiring individuals, even within the three-year period allowed by Section 3 of Form I-9, should fill out a new Form I-9 for their rehired employees.

For additional information on E-Verify and Form I-9 visit the I-9 Central Website.


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The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information above contains only a summary of the applicable legal provisions and does not purport to cover every aspect of any particular law, regulation or requirement. Depending on the specific facts of any situation, there may be additional or different requirements. This is to be used only as a guide and not as a definitive description of your compliance obligations.