United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses Form I-9 to verify and record employment eligibility for new hires. The current I-9 verification form expires and will be updated on October 31st, 2022. To simplify the form, DHS has proposed several changes to it, including:
- Compressing Sections 1 and 2 from two pages to one page to reduce paper use;
- Moving Section 3 to a separate Reverification and Rehire Supplement, making it a stand-alone section, which only is accessed if needed;
- Updating the List of Acceptable Documents to include a link to List C documents (on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website) issued by DHS. Some List C documents were previously unlisted, so this will be a helpful resource;
- Reducing and simplifying the form’s instructions from 15 pages to 7 pages; and
- Removing electronic PDF enhancements to ensure that the form can be completed on all electronic devices to reduce software issues.
Additionally, while the I-9 form is updated approximately every three years, its submission process is hardly ever altered. However, to adapt to a post-pandemic world where most employers are opting for hybrid working environments, on August 18, 2022, DHS published “Optional Alternatives to the Physical Document Examination Associated With Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)”. The publication discussed the option of making the virtual or remote inspection of employee documents for the Form I-9 permanent.
Prior to the pandemic, employers were required to physically (in-person) verify the documents presented by a new hire to prove employment eligibility. However, in March of 2020, DHS announced that employees who worked exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions, were temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements associated with the From I-9. This exemption has been extended until October 31, 2022 and may be made permanent dependent on the DHS Final Rule.