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Worksite Enforcement

DHS finalizes I-9 employment form rule streamlining efforts to ensure a legal workforce nationwide

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today finalized a regulation that provides greater flexibility for employers to electronically sign and store I-9 forms, which are used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to verify employment eligibility-eliminating the need for paper filing and streamlining efforts to ensure a legal workforce nationwide.

Previously, employers were required to store the paper forms for later inspection by DHS and ICE. DHS adopted rules in 2006 permitting electronic storage of employment verification forms, consistent with the electronic storage rules for tax records, and this rule provides additional flexibility for employers-including more options for data compression, fewer storage requirements, and more options for storage systems, among others. It addresses specific concerns many employers had expressed during the public notice and comment period on the 2006 interim final rule.

In April 2009, DHS issued updated worksite enforcement guidance to the field emphasizing ICE's major enforcement priorities-focusing on dangerous criminal aliens and employers who knowingly cultivate illegal workplaces and exploit illegal workers. As part of this strategy, ICE identified I-9 audits as an important administrative tool in building criminal cases, issuing civil penalties such as fines and bringing employers into compliance with the law.

More information about I-9 forms and Employment Eligibility Verification is available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website at www.uscis.gov/I-9.

For further guidance on the electronic signing and storage of the I-9, and the changes to the current regulations to assist businesses in complying with the requirements of the law, please visit www.ice.gov or view the Federal Register at www.gpoaccess.gov.