Effective August 1, 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services instituted a new version of Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification Form. Employers who fail to use the updated Form I-9 by November 1, 2023, may be subject to penalties.
The new form streamlines the traditional verification process and introduces a new remote verification process. Since all U.S. employers are required to complete Form I-9 for everyone they hire for employment, these updates will impact nearly every business in the U.S.
A complete list of updates and additions can be found here, but several of the major changes include:
- Reduced Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet. No previous fields were removed; Rather, multiple fields were merged into fewer fields when possible.
- Ensured the form can be filled out on tablets and mobile devices.
- Updated the notice at the top of the Form I–9 that explains how to avoid discrimination in the Form I–9 process.
- Revised the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
- Reduced length of instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages; and
- Added instructions for the use of the new checkbox for employers who choose to examine Form I–9 documentation under an alternative procedure.
The new remote verification process is a major announcement for employers as it substantially simplifies the verification process for employers with large remote workforces. The push for remote verification originated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Department of Homeland Security temporarily allowed remote verification through July 31, 2023.
However, the unveiled remote verification process has one major limitation: it is currently only available to employers who participate in the E-Verify system and are in “good standing.” To obtain this status, employers must enroll in E-Verify and complete the necessary online training modules.
Once enrolled, the remote verification process is relatively simple. First, a qualified employer must examine copies of the employee’s I-9 documentation. This must occur within 3 business days of the employee’s start date. Next, the employer must meet with the employee via a live video (i.e., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime) and the employee must display the original documentation to match the copies in the employer’s possession. Finally, the employer must ensure they check the appropriate box on the updated Form I-9 indicating the remote process was used for verification.
It’s important to note that the remote verification process only applies to employees hired on or after August 1, 2023. The remote verification process cannot be used to retroactively verify employees hired before August 1, 2023.
If you need more guidance or information, contact the employment law attorneys at General Counsel, P.C. today at 703-556-0411, email@example.com, or use this Contact Us Form. Attorneys at General Counsel, P.C. specialize in labor and employment law and have experience working with businesses, non-profits, and individuals throughout the DC Metropolitan area and across Virginia, specifically in Fairfax County, Arlington, and Loudoun County.