Compliance Alert: I-9 Central Website Coming Soon

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will soon announce a new I-9 compliance website, aptly named “I-9 Central,” which should be available in the spring of 2011. The I-9 Central website will provide detailed guidance on how to complete what many consider to be America’s most complicated (and potentially expensive) one-page form. As many of my colleagues have described in the past, the paper I-9 form is a minefield of potential errors just waiting to happen, and many employers underestimate the amount of training and preparation that is required to ensure the employment eligibility process is completed properly. Over the years, USCIS (and formerly INS) have issued several “employer bulletins” to explain the various I-9 rules as well as the formidable “M-274” I-9 Handbook for Employers (now weighing in at 69 pages). While all of these forms of guidance have been helpful, many stakeholders have requested simpler and more accessible learning resources to ease the I-9 burden. Enter, the I-9 Central! In addition to I-9 Central, the USCIS also indicated that it will explore utilizing smart features on their currently available I-9 PDF, which could include help text, drop-down boxes and other interactive tools to help prevent some known errors from occurring. No timeframes were provided for when these intelligent forms may appear, and it’s expected that USCIS will reach out to employers and other stakeholders first to gather additional feedback. Stay tuned for future updates on I-9 Central and the future of our favorite form!