May 10, 2013
Beware Employers Using Electronic I-9 Programs: Pre-population of Section 1 Not Allowed
As of May 7, 2013, U.S. employers must use the new I-9 form available at www.uscis.gov under Forms for all new hires and re-verifications. In a meeting on April 11, 2013 between AILA’s Verification and Documentation Liaison Committee and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Worksite Enforcement Unit, ICE confirmed that pre-population of Section 1 of the I-9 form by electronic I-9 programs is not permissible, regardless of whether the employee provided the original information that is pre-populated and regardless of whether the preparer/translator section is completed on the I-9 form.
Prohibiting pre-population by electronic I-9 programs represents a substantial shift in the agency’s position on this issue, which applies to both an employer’s existing and future electronic I-9 forms.
Based on this latest guidance from ICE HSI, we advise our employer clients that continuing to pre-populate Section 1 of the I-9 form carries significant risk. While AILA will continue to monitor this issue, our best practice guidance to employers at this time is to refrain from using the pre-population feature of an electronic I-9 system.