Recently, I discovered some very interesting...um, quirks, let's call them...about the Form I-9.
First of all, there is a typo in List A — #9 reads Form I-571, not 1-571. It gets better, though...there are actually forms in this list that are no longer considered acceptable documentation to establish identity and employment eligibility.
How did I figure this out? I read it on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. Don't you visit that website daily to keep up with what may be wrong on their forms?
Many "clarifications" to acceptable List A documents can be found there, including the fact that a bunch of forms like the Form I-766 (Employment Authorization Document), Certificate of U.S. Citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization, Unexpired Reentry Permit and Unexpired Refugee Travel Document are all out. Plus, Form I-151 is out, but Form I-551 is still in.
This is how we find out that we can't accept half the documents on the list?! Confused? Me too! How many hardworking decent keepers of the I-9s just happen to wander onto the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website and come across this information?
And how can we be held accountable for mistakes on the I-9 when we're following the instructions right on the form itself?! It makes no sense.
Well, according to language buried in regulations passed several years ago, the government has "discretion" not to penalize us for using documents from the current list — at least until the form is officially revised. But the way I see it, we depend on the government to keep us informed about important changes like this — and in this case, that obviously isn't happening.
The next question, then, is when will the I-9 be revised to be just a little more user friendly? Your guess is as good as mine. Stay tuned for I-9 updates in the (hopefully near) future. Keep checking back here, too, as I'll be sure to keep you posted.
In the meantime, has anyone else come across something like this with another government-issued form? Maybe if we start sharing our discoveries, we can help keep each other informed. At the very least, it will remind us that we're not alone in our confusion AND in our never-ending quest for complete compliance.
- Maurice Rosenberg, Human Resources Manager