By Avalyn C. Langemeier – Foster LLP
All employers must timely and properly complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to verify the identity and work authorization of employees hired to work in the United States on or after November 6, 1986. To complete the two-page Form I-9, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has provided detailed instructions which must be provided to the employee when completing Form I-9, the M-274 Handbook for Employers, online guidance at I-9 Central, and information on the penalties for violations, which may include civil fines and up to six months of imprisonment.
As of this writing, USCIS recently announced in July 2023 that it will publish a new revised Form I-9 that will be available for use beginning August 1, 2023. USCIS has made significant changes to Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) and has changed the ways in which the employee and employer may complete the form. The current version of Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) continues to be effective through October 31, 2023. Employers must use the updated version, Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23), beginning November 1, 2023.
Changes to the Form I-9 process and the updated Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) include:
Remote Inspection for E-Verify Employers
Employers not enrolled in E-Verify must continue to physically inspect employees’ valid and original identity and work authorization documents.
Employers enrolled in E-Verify will have the option to inspect such identity and work authorization documents remotely as of August 1, 2023. These E-Verify employers would check a box on the Form I-9 indicating that the employer examined the employee’s Form I-9 documentation using a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.
Employers that used the temporary policies related to COVID-19 which granted to certain employers the flexibility of remote inspection from March 20, 2020, to July 31, 2023, must inspect documents physically and update Section 2 of the Form I-9 accordingly by August 30, 2023. E-Verify employers that availed themselves of the flexibility due to the pandemic must still update their Forms I-9 by August 30, 2023, but may choose the alternative procedure of remote inspection beginning August 1, 2023.
E-Verify is a free internet-based system that confirms an employee’s identity and work authorization. Foster can assist with questions on E-Verify, including on enrollment.
Section 1 and Section 2 are now on a single-sided sheet. The new form should be fillable on tablets and mobile devices. USCIS removed certain features, such as the requirement to enter N/A in certain fields, so that the form can be downloaded easily.
New Supplement Pages
The Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification section is now a separate, standalone supplement, Supplement A. Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, is also a separate, standalone supplement, Supplement B. Employers can print and complete Supplement B for reverification and for certain rehires and attach additional supplemental sheets as necessary to the Form I-9. As a reminder, employers should not reverify identity documents or permanent resident cards.
Notice and Instructions
The new Form I-9 includes additional guidance for employers on how to complete the Form I-9. Specifically, the changes include the following:
- Updated notice at the top of the Form I-9 that explains how to avoid discrimination in the Form I-9 process (Employers must be careful to avoid discrimination against work authorized individuals in hiring, firing, recruitment or referral for a fee in the Form I-9 and E-Verify process based on the individual’s citizenship status, immigration status or national origin);
- Updated List of Acceptable Documents to include acceptable receipts and add guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation (Certain receipts for extensions or replacement documents are acceptable, and certain documents may be extended for 240-days or 540-days, or longer based on the Federal Register);
- Instructions reduced from fifteen pages to eight pages;
- Added instructions for use of the new checkbox for E-Verify employers that choose to examine Form I-9 documentation remotely under an alternative procedure; and
- Added definitions of key actors in the Form I-9 process.
Foster LLP can help employers navigate the Form I-9 process, E-Verify, conduct audits of Forms I-9 and any supporting documentation, and provide training. Foster can also represent employers with reactive Forms I-9 audits if there is a government investigation.
In business for 50 years, Foster LLP has been helping employers with immigration compliance, work visas and permanent residence worldwide. Foster has also been helping investors, individuals, and families with their immigration needs. If your organization or you need assistance, Foster LLP can partner with you to strategize and help meet your immigration needs.