Anything you ever wanted to know about Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is now available in one convenient Web site at www.uscis.gov/I-9central

An I-9 must be completed for each employee hired by American employers by their fourth day at work to show they are authorized to work in the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched I-9 Central Friday as part of their "ongoing efforts to better serve the 7.5 million employers who use Form I-9 every time they hire an employee," according to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

The Web site provides step-by-step instructions on how to complete the I-9 and the deadlines for doing so.  It also provides information about and examples of acceptable documents that employees can present, employee and employer rights, and a list of common mistakes made on the I-9 form.

I-9 compliance has been a major focus of USCIS recently. In addition to this Web site, the agency recently updated the Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274).  In addition, USCIS has been conducting numerous I-9 inspections in which they have waged millions of dollars in fines from employers that have incorrectly filled out forms.

With all of the tools available to help employers correctly complete the I-9, we can only guess that USCIS is going to be even more strict in I-9 inspections.  You may want to make your clients aware of these new tools, and if you employ your contractors without the help of a contracting back-office provider, you may want to check them out yourself!

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

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