- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published today an updated Form I-9, which is used to verify employees’ identity and employment authorization.
- As previewed in the agency’s July announcement, the updated Form I-9 contains a checkbox for employers to indicate that an alternative verification procedure has been used. One such procedure has been approved so far, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In it, E-Verify participant employers in good standing may conduct remote documentation and verification via live video.
- The new Form I-9 expires July 31, 2026. USCIS said last month that the previous edition of the form will continue to be accepted through Oct. 31, 2023.
News of the impending updated form proved timely, appearing less than two weeks before the end of USCIS’ temporary flexibility that allowed employers to conduct remote document verification.
Moreover, the continued availability of remote verification for certain E-Verify users “is probably the biggest thing to happen in immigration compliance in many, many years,” Avram Morell, partner at Pryor Cashman, said in an email to HR Dive. “Human resources operations folks have been struggling for years to bring the entire on-boarding process on-line, and the I-9 has always been an obstacle.”
The alternative verification process could help employers save on costs such as staffing individual worksites with employees who are familiar with the I-9 process or using vendors to complete physical document examination, Morell said. But E-Verify can be “burdensome and expensive” for employers that hire many people, he added, which could be factored into an employer’s cost-benefit analysis for determining how to move forward.
Employers that use the alternative process may want to keep a copy of employees’ documentation — both front and back — to show that a full inspection was done, said Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O’Connor’s immigration practice. They also may want to document the live video aspect of the process in some other way, such as printing out meeting invitations or taking a snapshot of the video call.