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The AR Group

Employee Eligibility Updates

By Victoria Aguilar

All employers should understand that the Colorado Employment Verification Law (? 8-2-122, C.R.S.) requires employers to affirm within 20 days of hiring a new employee in the state that they have not knowingly hired an illegal alien and have examined the legal work status of the new employee. Completion of this state Mandatory Affirmation Form requirement is in addition to the separate federal Form I-9 requirements that employers are required to have on file for each new hire.

Keeping track of these two closely related forms for every new hire demands diligent attention, especially considering that failure to meet standards could result in fines and/or penalties to the employer. Colorado employers should be aware that the Colorado Mandatory Affirmation Form was recently amended and a significant update is imminent to the USCIS Form I-9 (the first overhaul to the form in 25 years). See below for more details:

IMMEDIATE MANDATORY AFFIRMATION FORM UPDATE

The Colorado Employment Verification Law initially took effect on January 1, 2006. Under the Law, employers hiring within the state of Colorado are required to complete an Affirmation Form within 20 days of hire. That form was recently updated and effective October 1, 2012. All Colorado employers are required to use the revised state Mandatory Affirmation Form with a revision date of September 6, 2012. The form dated September 6, 2012 must be used for all Colorado employees hired between October 1, 2012 and October 1, 2014. The new version of the form may not be used for Colorado employees hired prior to September 6, 2012. The new form can be found on the Colorado Mandatory Affirmation Form webpage.

UPCOMING I-9 UPDATE

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently sought public comment on revisions to the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form and the long-awaited update is due to be released imminently. Some key revisions to the form include: expanded instructions and a revised layout; new, optional data fields to collect the employee?s email address and telephone number; and new data fields to collect the foreign passport number and country of issuance.

The USCIS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have spent the last year focusing heavily on I-9 compliance through audits. Much like the above mentioned Mandatory Affirmation Form, failure to remain diligent regarding I-9 practices could result in fines and additional penalties that place a heavy burden on human resources departments. Employers must remember that each error on each I-9 is a separate violation so failing to notice even minor changes and revisions could prove costly. There are several requirements for proper I-9 administration, including timely I-9 completion by each employee and maintenance of the properly formatted original copy onsite at the place of business. Furthermore, I-9s are required to be retained for the duration of employment, and for a further three years from the employees start date or one year from the time of termination. Until a new version is approved and released, employers must continue to use the current version of the I-9 Form.

SMART TIP: Organizing and maintaining the Mandatory Affirmation and I-9 Forms is vital for managing the risks involved with having employees. There are constant changes and revisions in which to track. The AR Group stays current with each and every one of these changes so employers can focus on their core business. You can learn more about Colorado?s Mandatory Affirmation Form update at www.colorado.gov/cdle/evr or the imminent I-9 revision at http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central. For more detailed information, contact The AR Group at 720.452.3300.