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Regulatory Update - Employment Verification

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Yesterday, May 29, 2012, SHRM joined the American Council on International Personnel (ACIP) in comments to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on proposed revisions to the Form I-9, used to verify employment eligibility.

The revised form contains a number of changes that could make completing the form less of a challenge for HR practitioners.  One such change includes clarifying the Certification section by instructing employers to record an employee’s “first day of work for pay” instead of hire date.  However, the revised form will for the first time exceed one page in length. 

SHRM and ACIP provided the agency with specific suggestions to make the form more clear and understandable for employers.  In addition, the comments highlight several overarching issues that the agency should address.  Specifically, SHRM and ACIP recommended the following:

  • The revised form should limited to one printed page.  As proposed, the revised form would require two sheets of paper per form;
  • USCIS should provide one resource for current instructions and information regarding the I-9 process.  To the extent that multiple sources remain (I-9 Central, M-274 Handbook for Employers, and printed instructions accompanying Form I-9), those sources should not contradict one another or create confusion for employees or employers;
  • Revise the current burden estimate for completing the form.  The proposal estimates that the burden for “reviewing instructions and completing and retaining” each Form I-9 is 13 minutes.  The instructions for the Form I-9 have become increasingly complex and lengthy.  Coupled with the 69-page Handbook for Employers, we do not believe that any individual could read and understand that volume of information, nor complete and process the form in 13 minutes.  It is important that the form reflect a realistic burden on the public; and
  • Create an electronic version of Form I-9 which will enable employers to complete the form in a shorter amount of time and eliminate the need for a paper-based version.

USCIS will review all comments to its proposed revised form and is likely to issue a final form in the coming months. The SHRM-ACIP comments are available HERE.

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