By Jason Fry
You’ll often hear the Form I-9 called America's most complicated two-page form. And no wonder: the two pages you and your new hire fill out come with over 900 pages of instructions, according to an industry expert from Jackson Lewis, P.C. That includes instructions that come with the form, as well as the M-274 handbook for employers, and various pages on the USCIS web page. We held a webinar recently with guest speaker Montserrat Miller, a partner at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, to talk about recent updates to the Form I-9. Monserrat also discussed trends in immigration reform that could potentially affect employers. During the webinar we asked our over-700 attendees to identify the substantive error from a list including four technical errors. It might seem like an elementary question, but nearly a quarter of the attendees were unable to identify the substantive error. (See graphic)
Montserrat discussed the difference between substantive and technical errors in greater detail at the webinar and explained how the employer should treat them. This is important because the way you treat a substantive error when you find one is different than how you correct for a technical error. Both are important to understand before attempting to remediate any issues you find in an existing Form I-9. We also offered other tips for mitigating potential risk, and shared some best practices for improving Form I-9 compliance during new hire onboarding. Both are critical since site visits by agents from the Department of Homeland Security are increasing. There was much discussion around the Department of Homeland Security's Budget-in-Brief, which includes $131.5 million for E-Verify operations, including new investments to expand the E-Verify program, "...to support mandatory use of E-Verify nationwide within three years." As Montserrat pointed out, this and other signs in Washington point to a federal requirement for all employers to use E-Verify. As this mandate moves towards reality, employers will need to seriously consider the value of an electronic I-9 solution that integrates with E-Verify to help maintain compliance. View the webinar now.