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USCIS announces new Form I-9, will allow permanent remote review for E-Verify users

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Friday the forthcoming publication of an updated Form I-9, used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of employees. The new form will become available Aug. 1.

Additionally, the agency published a final rule — effective the same day as the new form’s release — amending its regulations to permit the secretary of homeland security to authorize “alternative document examination procedures” as an alternative to in-person, physical review by employers.

A separate document published by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Friday announced the authorization of one such alternative. This alternative process, available only to E-Verify participant employers in good standing, permits employers to conduct remote documentation and verification via live video with employees once employees have transmitted their documents to the employer for review.

This alternative process also will be available to eligible employers Aug. 1, ICE said.

The updated Form I-9 includes a box the employer must check to indicate its use of an alternative procedure, according to USCIS. The previous version of Form I-9 will also continue to be accepted through Oct. 31, 2023.

USCIS’s final rule creates a framework under which the agency could “implement permanent flexibilities under certain conditions, initiate pilot procedures with respect to the examination of documents, or respond to emergencies similar to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Friday’s news is timely given that DHS’ policy temporarily permitting remote verification, initially made during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, is due to sunset July 31.

This is a developing story.

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