Last month we alerted you to the change in policy by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which announced that virtual review of I-9 employment forms will no longer be allowed effective July 31, with a grace period extending to August 30. This will resume the pre-Covid policy of requiring employers to conduct an in-person physical inspection of a new hire’s documents for the I-9 verifications.
DHS has now announced an exception to this policy. Employers who participate in the E-Verify program and are in good standing will have the option to conduct I-9 verification electronically and with a live video call interaction. According to DHS, “E-Verify is a free, easy-to-use web-based system operated by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration. The system enables participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees.” Certain employers such as federal contractors already use the E-Verify system. Information about E-Verify can be found at the DHS website link What is E-Verify. DHS is considering allowing additional alternate documentation procedures, but has not yet finalized those proposals.
A second update from DHS/ICE is the announcement that there is a new Form I-9 that employers should use beginning August 1, 2023. ICE says that the new form has been streamlined and shortened, making it easier for employers to use. It will now be only one page. The new version will not be available for downloading until August 1, but the form will be available at USCIS Form I-9. Employers may continue using the current edition of Form I-9 through October 31, 2023.
John Falcone and Luke Malloy handle employment law matters at PLDR Law. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.