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National Restaurant Association - Government issues new I-9 form

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Government issues new I-9 form

The federal government issued a new I-9 form March 7 -- and while the new form is available for immediate use, employers have a 60-day grace period to begin using it, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services . The new form will be required for new hires starting May 8, 2013, USCIS said.

The revised form has been in the works for a while. The agency said its goal was to make the I-9 clearer and more user-friendly for employers and employees. Employers and employees complete the form to verify the identity and work eligibility of newly hired employees.

USCIS said it realizes employers will need extra time to update their business processes to accommodate the new form, particularly businesses that use electronic I-9 forms. As a result, certain older versions of the form can be used for the next 60 days, or through May 7, the agency said.

Employers do not need to complete a new I-9 for existing employees who already have an I-9 on file, unless their employment needs to be re-verified, USCIS said.

The new form includes a revised layout that expands the form to two pages from one, along with improved instructions. More details are available on USCIS’s website. Employers also can call the agency at (800) 870-3676. For more information about the I-9 process, call the USCIS’s National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283. A Spanish version of the form is available on the USCIS website for use in Puerto Rico only.

The USCIS offers additional background on the new form in the March 7 Federal Register.

According to USCIS, employers must maintain I-9 forms for their employees as long as they work for the employer and for the required retention period after the end of employment. That period either is three years after the date of hire or one year after the date employment ended, whichever is later. Employers also must make their I-9 forms available for inspection by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Justice Department's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, and the Labor Department.

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