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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently released an updated version of Form I-9, the mandatory document verifying the identity and employment authorization of employees. As of November 1, 2023, employers are required to use this new version. While the fundamental legal requirements remain unchanged for both employers and employees, the new Form I-9 introduces several significant enhancements aimed at simplifying the process and accommodating remote work situations.

Notable Enhancements in the New Form I-9:

  • Consolidation of Sections 1 and 2:

The new Form I-9 integrates Sections 1 and 2 onto a single page, streamlining the documentation process for employers and employees.

  • Introduction of Acceptable Receipts:

The updated version includes an expanded list of Acceptable Documents, now incorporating Acceptable Receipts to provide flexibility in documentation submission.

  • Revised Supplement Sections:

Supplement A: This section is designated for cases where an employee relies on a Preparer or Translator to complete Section 1, simplifying the documentation process.

Supplement B: Employers are now required to use this section for Reverifications and Rehires, replacing Section 3 of previous versions.

  • Alternative Procedure for Remote Document Examination:

In response to the rise in remote work arrangements, eligible E-Verify employers can opt for the Alternative Procedure, a DHS-authorized method for remotely examining employees’ identity and work authorization documents. This option was implemented on August 1, 2023.

Understanding the Alternative Procedure:

To qualify for the Alternative Procedure, employers must participate in E-Verify and maintain good standing. Key points regarding this procedure include:

  • Employers must consistently offer the Alternative Procedure for all new employees at a specific E-Verify hiring site.
  • Discriminatory practices based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin are prohibited. However, employers can use the Alternative Procedure exclusively for remote hires.
  • The procedure involves electronic submission and review of identity and work authorization documents or acceptable receipts, followed by a live video interaction to confirm document authenticity.
  • Clear documentation of the submitted materials must be retained, and an E-Verify case must be created for new hires.

End of COVID-19 Flexibilities:

As of August 30, 2023, all Form I-9s completed using COVID-19 remote flexibilities required physical inspection. Employers were mandated to conduct in-person inspections for documents previously inspected remotely under COVID-19 flexibilities or use the Alternative Procedure from August 1, 2023. Employers who have not completed inspections should address this promptly, either through the Alternative Procedures or physical inspection.

Ensuring Compliance:

Employers must ensure compliance with these new regulations. Employees unwilling or unable to use the Alternative Procedure remotely must be allowed to submit documentation for in-person physical examination. Employers not eligible for the Alternative Procedure can still use third-party authorized representatives for physical inspections.