In a recent development aimed at streamlining the process of verifying identity and employment eligibility for new hires in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced significant changes to Form I-9.
These changes, effective from November 1, 2023, mandate all employers to adopt the updated form to ensure compliance. The new Form I-9 offers a more streamlined and efficient process for verifying employment eligibility, particularly for remote workers.
Understanding Form I-9
Form I-9 serves as a crucial document for confirming an individual’s identity and employment authorization when they are hired to work in the United States. Both employees and employers, or their authorized representatives, are required to complete this form.
Key Changes to Form I-9
Remote Verification Option: Employers can now remotely verify an employee’s identity and employment eligibility using the DHS-authorized Alternative Procedure. This option is particularly beneficial for employers with a large remote workforce.
Electronic Signature Authorization: Form I-9 can now be electronically generated, signed, and maintained in accordance with DHS regulations. This eliminates the need for paper forms and streamlines the verification process.
Provide Updated Form I-9: Employers must ensure they are using the most recent version of Form I-9, which was made available on November 1, 2023.
Review Employee Documentation: Employers must review the identity and employment eligibility documentation provided by new hires, whether in person or remotely.
Maintain Records: Employers must retain copies of Form I-9 for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date of termination of employment, whichever is later.
Compliance with E-Verify
Employers who participate in E-Verify and are in good standing may use the DHS-authorized Alternative Procedure to remotely examine employees’ identity and work authorization documentation. This option is designed to accommodate the increasing number of remote workers.
Employers must adhere to anti-discrimination policies and refrain from treating employees differently based on their citizenship, immigration status, or country of origin.
The DHS-authorized Alternative Procedure can only be used for remote hires; all other employees, whether onsite or in a hybrid role, must undergo an in-person examination.
The new Form I-9 simplifies the identity and employment eligibility verification process for remote workers, making it more efficient and convenient for both employers and employees.
Employers must ensure they are using the most recent version of the form and follow proper procedures for remote verification to maintain compliance with DHS regulations.