Countdown to Nov. 1
REMINDER: Starting November 1, you can only use Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, with the August 1, 2023 edition date.
Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the temporary remote verification rules that were in place for the last 3 years (i.e., reviewing documents virtually instead of in person due to COVID-19) would sunset on July 31. This means that employers would need to review documents in person, within 3 business days, as had previously been the rule. However, …
On July 21, DHS announced that effective August 1, they made the remote verification rule permanent for employers enrolled in E-Verify and who meet the below requirements.
- Be in good standing in the E-Verify program;
- Enrolled in E-Verify for all hiring sites in the United States, for which they seek to use the alternative procedure (aka remote verification);
- Have complied with all E-Verify requirements, including verifying the employment eligibility of newly hired employees in the United States; and
- Have completed an E-Verify tutorial/training concerning fraud awareness and anti-discrimination (this is already part of the new-user training E-Verify requires you to take).
How to Remotely Review Documents:
- Examine remotely the front and back of the employee’s identity and employment authorization documentation or acceptable receipt to determine that the documentation appears genuine;
- Conduct a live interaction with the employee presenting the same documentation discussed above that the employee submits copies of (since for E-Verify you must retain copies) to ensure the documentation appears to be genuine and relates to the employee;
- Indicate on Form I-9, by completing the corresponding box, that an alternative procedure was used to examine documentation to complete Section 2 or for re-verification, as applicable (this is part of the new I-9 form that is being released August 1 – more to come on this!);
- Retain clear and legible copies (front and back) of all documents presented by employees; and
- In the event of an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) I-9 audit or relevant federal government agency investigation, make available clear and legible copies of the documentation presented by the employee for document examination in connection with the employment eligibility verification process.
Employers can newly enroll in E-Verify and be eligible to remotely inspect documents, as long as they are “in good standing”, are enrolled in E-Verify in all states in which they will be using this alternate method, and take the required training.
Additionally, employers who were enrolled and E-Verified employees during the temporary remote verification period, will not need to review documents in person by the given deadline.
For employers who will still need to review documents in person because they were not previously enrolled in E-Verify, DHS says:
“If an employer is otherwise compliant with the law and regulation – and had followed the COVID-19 flexibility guidance – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will generally not focus its limited enforcement resources on Form I-9 verification violations for failing to complete physical document examination by August 30, 2023, particularly where the employer can show that it has taken timely steps to complete physical document examination within a reasonable period of time.”DHS
Participating in remote verification is optional, and E-Verify employers may still continue to review documents in person. However, it does take some of the burden off your shoulders if you do a lot of remote hiring and would have otherwise needed to review the documents in person. Qualified employers are also free to do a mix of both, such as reviewing in-person for their headquarters employees and reviewing virtually for their remote employees. This is a HUGE step in government entities modernizing practices to fit our changing operations, and we could not be more excited!
If you would like to explore options for enrolling in E-Verify or to learn about some of the pros and cons of doing so, reach out to your friends at Total Package HR for help!