November 1, 2023, quickly approaches, and with its approach comes a deadline concerning the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. This day is when the new Form I-9 becomes mandatory for all employers.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the new Form I-9 on August 1, 2023. This announcement included the specification that employers could continue using the existing form from October 21, 2029. However, it would become mandatory to use the new version starting November 1. This version significantly changes the verification process, providing greater flexibility. Such flexibility includes alternative verification methods for qualifying employers.
Updates to the Form
As this time quickly approaches, employers should ensure they use the updated version for all new hires. Though the employment eligibility verification process will remain the same, the new form will introduce the following changes:
- Reducing Sections 1 and 2 to a single page;
- Making Section 1 Preparer and/or Translator Certification a standalone supplement to use when needed;
- Making Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, a standalone supplement that employers may print and use when needed;
- Reduce the instructions from 15 pages to eight;
- Update the Lists of Acceptable Documents to include certain receipts and guidance to additional information;
- Include a checkbox for employers to identify if they used an alternative virtual procedure instead of physically examining an employee’s documentation.
A primary goal in designing the new Form I-9 is to streamline the process and documentation. In addition, the agency has improved the form for digital access. Employers and employees can now complete Form I-9s on devices such as tablets and smartphones.
The most significant difference is that the new Form I-9 will support alternative verification methods. However, employers interested in these flexibilities must participate in E-Verify. E-Verify is a website that assists employers in the employment eligibility verification process. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security runs this site and encourages employers to confirm their employees’ eligibility through its system.
Eligible employers must schedule a live video interaction with the employee. During this interaction, they will remotely examine the documentation to ensure it appears genuine and associated with the worker. These alternatives still require employees to present their choice of identity and work authorization documentation. The employer may then indicate on the Form I-9 that they used these remote verification methods. The new form provides a checkbox for eligible employers to mark when using alternative methods.