In-Depth Analysis

What Employers Need to Know About Employee Verification Requirements: Recent Changes to Form I-9 and Challenges Posed by a Natural Disaster

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Although immigration has been a hot political topic lately, employers’ obligations to comply with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1324a, have remained consistent for the last few years. As most employers know, they must verify the work authorization of all employees by reviewing documentation that establishes the employee’s identity and authorization to work in the U.S. On July 17, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revised Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification, and its Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 but made very few substantive changes to the Form I-9 requirements. In addition, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the USCIS issued guidance to employers about how to verify employment eligibility if a newly hired employee claims that his or her verification documents have been destroyed. As explained below, employers will want to implement the Form I-9 changes by September 18, 2017, and apply the USCIS’s recent guidance to avoid both civil and criminal penalties.

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