Proposed Form I-9 Modifications
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What Is Form I-9?
Form I-9 or Employment Eligibility Verification is used to authenticate work authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. U.S. Employers are legally required to complete Form I-9 for every employee they employ in the United States, whether those employee s are citizens or noncitizens.
What Is The Scope Of The Proposed Employment Eligibility Verification Changes?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to allow for an alteration of the paperwork and procedures required by Form I-9. This change would enable additional options for the document examination aspect of the process, or how individuals can confirm and verify their identity and employment authorization to complete Form I-9.
These procedures may begin as a pilot program, upon the Secretary’s determination that the proposals provide a sufficient and equivalent level of security, or as a temporary allowance to adapt to a public health emergency per the Secretary of Health and Human Services or a national emergency per the President.
What Is The Purpose Of Changing Form I-9?
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, many employers and organizations have shifted to telework and remote work environments. The shift to offsite work continued even after health sanctions were lifted in most of the United States. Because of this trend, DHS predicts that telework or remote work may be permanent for a sizable portion of the workforce.
With the notion that these work arrangements will continue, DHS is considering endless options that were previously pandemic-related accommodations. These accommodations may be formally instituted as Form I-9 protocol.
What Are The Specific DHS Proposals And Considerations?
There are several proposals and considerations for Form I-9 from the DHS, including:
- Revising the language to authorize an alternative identification verification and employment authorization when individuals are hired, reverified, or rehired.
- Adding a new section to allow additional documentation examination methods other than physical examination.
- Incorporating the ability for employers to indicate on the form the usage of alternative procedures during the verification process.
- Updating the instructions to explain the new box of verification methods.
- Implementing documentation retention requirements for the remote mode of examination and retainment expectations via video, fax, or email.
- Including fraudulent document detection and an anti-discrimination training requirement for employers.
- Confining the eligibility of the proposed modifications to enrolled employers in good standing and limiting those who have received fines, settlements, or convictions related to employment eligibility verification.
What Are The Benefits Of The Form I-9 Proposals?
While the new procedures may come at some cost to employers, they offer flexibility that accommodates the shift toward remote work or telework. Employers that operate out of multiple locations would also benefit from the proposed changes to Form I-9 as their human resources team could perform employment eligibility verification from any site, including remotely, which centralizes the process.
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