Since the announcement and release of the remote flexibilities for employment eligibility verification (Form I-9), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently proposed a pilot program to accompany the process. This pilot program would allow employers not enrolled in E-Verify to verify documents provided by employees remotely. In addition, the DHS intends to invite public comment on the proposed new rule for 60 days.
The pilot program is a way for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to see the effects on the security of the employment eligibility verification system. As such, ICE will evaluate the impact on the system’s integrity. The evaluation would compare the physical review to the remote, studying the error, fraud, and discrimination rates. The pilot disqualifies employers already participating in the E-Verify system.
Most employers will have access to the pilot, though they must not exceed the program’s threshold for business size. It requires employers to examine the front and back of Form I-9 documents or acceptable receipts within three days of the employee’s first day of employment. They must also ensure that the employees deliver reasonable and genuine documentation.
The person inspecting the documents must conduct a live video interaction with the employee. This process ensures that the employee has presented genuine information that relates to them. The employee transmits a copy of the documents to the employer before submitting them in the live video interaction.
Employers must indicate they used an alternative process for examining the employee’s Form I-9 documents. They must fill out Section 2 to report the alternative or the reverification. Afterward, employers should maintain clear and legible copies of both sides of the documents. This step ensures they have everything needed for an audit by ICE.
Businesses interested in participating must complete a form to sign up. Those chosen to partake in the program must provide feedback as requested by ICE. According to the pilot, they must include information such as “number of new hires, number of employees who requested to have a physical inspection, challenges associated with the pilot procedure.”
Furthermore, they must “examine and retain electronic copies that are clear and legible of all supporting documentation provided by individuals seeking to establish identity and employment authorization for the Form I–9 process. Employers may be required to undertake other measures to improve the security of the pilot procedure.”
This program will help employers who cannot verify employees’ Form I-9s remotely. Regardless of whether they use it, employers must ensure they correctly complete all new hires’ employment eligibility verification processes. Unfortunately, this has proven complicated due to the ever-shifting regulations.
The best way to ensure you complete Form I-9 correctly is to use an electronic I-9 management system. This system guides employers through the process step-by-step and safely and securely stores the forms and documentation.
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