- Establish a consistent process for execution of I-9 forms.
- On the first day of work, ensure that each new hire completes and signs Section 1.
- Review the employee’s documents and confirm that they are on the acceptable document list and look authentic (www.uscis.gov/i-9).
- While it is not required in all locations, making copies of all documentation provided is a good practice.
- Track the expiration of documents that limit the right to work and prepare a tickler system to follow up. Also, do not keep I-9 documentation in the personnel file.
- Retain I-9s and any supporting documents for the later of three years after hire or one year after termination.
On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office issued a new two-page I-9 form. This form has a number of changes from the previous version. For new hires, employers must start using the form by May 7. Employers are not required to complete the new form for current employees, provided they have properly completed forms already on file. The USCIS also released an updated M-274, Handbook for Employers.
Now that the TLEA has fully phased in and applies to the vast majority of employers in Tennessee (any employer with 6 or more employees), it is important to ensure compliance. Here are the documents that qualify as acceptable documents for verification compliance:
- Current, unexpired driver’s license
- Valid photo registration issues by a State
- U.S. Birth Certificate (including U.S. certificate of birth abroad)
- Unexpired U.S. passport
- U.S. certificate of citizenship or of naturalization
- U.S. identification or permanent resident card
- Immigrant or alien registration recognized by Homeland Security
There are some differences in qualifying documents for I-9 requirements. Also, copies of documents must be retained for the longer of 3 years after hire date or 1 year after termination of employment.
The TLEA has been phased in by several steps since its passage in July 2011. As of January 1, 2013, the law now applies to all employers with 6 to 199 employees. This law places restriction on employment of illegal aliens and requires Tennessee employers to verify the employment eligibility of persons through review of documents and use of the I-9 form.
A new deadline is upcoming for Tennessee employers with 200 to 499 employees. Beginning July 1, 2012, those employers must comply with the immigration law that addresses use of the federal E-Verify program for new hires. Employers must check specific identity documents and retain them, or otherwise enroll in E-Verify. The Tennessee law also requires the verification of work authorization for some non-employee workers as well. Employers with 500 or more employees began compliance at the start of the year, with those having between 6 and 199 beginning compliance at the start of next calendar year.