New I-9 Allows Remote Verification for Qualifying Employers
U.S. employers may be able to streamline their onboarding of new employees now that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a new version of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form (edition date August 1, 2023). This form will allow qualifying employers to avoid the actual, and often time-consuming, physical inspection of employee documents and, instead, verify them remotely via video calls.
Use of this new edition will become mandatory for all employers after October 31, 2023. Until then, they can continue to use the prior version (October 21, 2019).
Among the changes to the form are:
- Sections 1 and 2 are now on a single page;
- The previous Preparer/Translator certification is now a separate supplement (to be used as needed;
- The previous Section 3 (for reverifications and rehiring former employees) is also a separate supplement;
- The new form can be completed on tablets and mobile devices (after downloads);
- Better clarity regarding acceptable documents including filing receipts and links to additional information; and
- As discussed below, a checkbox for qualifying employers who remotely review employee documents (the “alternative procedure”).
Following the lessons it learned from millions working remotely during the COVID lockdowns, DHS will now allow qualifying employers an alternative to the in-person examination of the original documents provided by newly hired employees and will permit them to review copies of them during video calls.
A qualified employer is one that has enrolled in E-Verify. For those with multiple worksites, new hires can only be remotely verified if the site into which they are hired has been included in the employer’s E-Verify registration.
In order to remotely verify a new hire, a qualified employer must do the following in the first three business days of the person’s employment:
- Obtain copies of the employee’s identity and employment authorization document(s) (front and back);
- Examine these copies (front and back) of Form I–9 documents or an acceptable receipt to ensure that the documentation presented reasonably appears to be genuine;
- Conduct a live video interaction with the new hire who is presenting the original document(s) to ensure that it/they reasonably appear(s) to be genuine and related to that individual;
- Indicate on Form I–9, by checking the corresponding box, that an alternative procedure was used to examine documentation to complete Section 2 (or for reverification, as applicable) (This box is in the “Additional Information” part of Section 2 of the new form.);
- Retain, consistent with applicable regulations a clear and legible copy of the documentation (front and back if the documentation is two-sided); and
- Keep on file clear and legible copies of the employee’s documentation.
This new “alternative procedure” for verifying the employment eligibility of new workers has the potential to ease their onboarding process and save employers time in what can sometimes be a confusing process.
For more information about this and other immigration issues, please contact the author of this alert, James G. Aldrich, Jr., at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-203-0583, or your Dykema relationship attorney.