Employers will likely see significant changes to the Form I-9 process soon. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will revise the ubiquitous form, which they regularly update roughly every three years. The current version expects to expire on October 31st. 2022.
The DHS makes few changes to the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9) with every update. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created enormous challenges for employers looking to complete Form I-9, and the DHS has responded with considerable changes to both the document and process.
Because the current form will expire at the end of October, the DHS has proposed several changes to streamline and simplify the document. These changes include condensing Sections 1 and 2 into a single page. In addition, the DHS altered Section 3 for rehiring and reverifying employees. Now, employers may access this section when needed.
The DHS has also reduced the instructions for completing Form I-9 from fifteen pages down to seven. Furthermore, employers will also no longer have to worry about entering “N/A” into non-applicable fields and can instead leave them blank. This change removes one of the many annoyances employers have struggled with when ensuring compliance.
The DHS also wants to remove PDF software restrictions that leave the digital form incompatible with various devices. For example, the DHS will update the List of Acceptable Documents to include a link for acceptable List C documents on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. These updates will help employers identify which unlisted documents to use.
On August 18th, 2022, the DHS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, previewing significant potential changes to the process for completing Form I-9. The DHS dubbed the proposed rule, Optional Alternatives to the Physical Document Examination Associated with Employment Eligibility Verification. It would create a framework allowing the DHS to authorize alternative options for document examination procedures if implemented. For example, this could permit the DHS to introduce alternatives to the physical examination of documents presented by new hires to establish identity and employment eligibility for Form I-9.
The notice outlines other potential changes, such as introducing fraudulent document detection procedures and discrimination training requirements. It also potentially limits alternative verification options to employers enrolled with E-Verify. The notice requests input from stakeholders; the comment period will end on October 16th, 2022.
As these major changes show, keeping up with the Form I-9 process can be challenging. One of the best ways to ensure your workplace remains in compliance is to employ a digital I-9 management tool. This tool can help employers by providing step-by-step guidance to complete the process while digitizing the process for faster completion and secure storage of forms and documentation.
Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9 Compliance.