Big changes planned for Form I-9 this fall.

As employers are painfully aware, the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) is full of hidden traps. And the penalties for mistakes can be harsh. So just as you've finally figured out the current I-9 version, the Department of Homeland Security has proposed significant changes to the form before the current version expires on Oct. 31.

The goal is to simplify and clarify the process. Among the proposals:

* Compress Sections 1 and 2 from two pages to one page to reduce paper use and storage burden.

* Change Section 3 to a Reverification and Rehire Supplement that is a "stand alone" section, which employers would only print and use as needed.

* Update the List of Acceptable Documents to include a link to List C documents in the regulations.

* Reduce/simplify the I-9 instructions from 15 pages to 7 pages.

* Remove digital PDF enhancements to make sure I-9s can be completed on all e-devices.

Another planned change: Remove the onerous requirement for employers to put "N/A" in all unused fields. This would allow HR to leave a field blank if the information in the field doesn't apply.

Many employer advocates were hoping that DHS would extend the flexibility for...

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