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The I-9 Form For Employers Has Been Updated And Streamlined, Here’s What To Know

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services updated and streamlined the Form I-9 for new employees earlier this summer and set an Oct. 1 deadline for employers to adopt the form.

The CBIA, a Connecticut business group, reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires employers to complete an in-person inspection of a new hire’s Form I-9 documents. However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, DHS allowed qualified employees to have their documents virtually inspected.

When DHS announced the end of temporary COVID-19 rules in July 2021, officials also announced plans to allow qualified employers to inspect Form I-9 documents remotely as reported by The CBIA.

DHS published the revised Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification on Aug. 1, 2023. The updated form is more streamlined and moves the preparer/translator certification and re-verification/rehire sections to addendums. However, the alternative remote inspection option is the most notable change to Form I-9.

Under the new option, employers currently enrolled in the E-Verify system can examine an employee’s Form I-9 documents remotely via video conference.

An employer can request a remote inspection of an employee’s documents if they transmit a copy of the Form I-9 they want to present for work authorization; the employer examines copies of Form I-9 documents to ensure they are genuine. The employer then conducts a live video interaction with the employee to ensure the documents are genuine and the documents are the same that an employee previously presented.

Additionally, the employer must keep a clear and legible copy of Form 1-9 in the event of an audit or investigation.

The virtual alternative gives employers more flexibility, specifically to deal with the increase of remote workers, post-pandemic. According to Forbes, 12.7% of full-time workers are currently remote, while nearly 30% of workers, work in a hybrid model in which they are required to work from the office at least once a week.

The E-Verify system, which was implemented in 1996, is operated by DHS, and the Social Security Administration is used to verify the employment eligibility of new employees. The system is currently mandatory in 22 states and for most federal contracts.