USCIS Update

E-Verify employers, there’s an important update regarding the Form I-9 physical examination. Given the continued prevalence of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DHS has approved an alternative procedure for Form I-9 physical examination. We review this procedure here.

In May 2023, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) put forth a directive for employers. They stated that by August 30, 2023, employers should physically inspect documents that had been remotely reviewed under the COVID-19 temporary flexibilities. This mandate stirred concerns amongst employers, given the complications arising from remote work.

However, the recent announcement by the DHS on July 25, 2023, provides a reprieve. With this Federal Register Notice, an alternative procedure for Form I-9 has been instituted. This new provision allows employers, fulfilling four essential criteria, to opt for an alternative instead of the traditional physical examination.

Criteria for the Alternative Procedure:

  1. Remote examination of an employee’s documents should have occurred between March 20, 2020, and July 31, 2023.
  2. Employers should have been enrolled in E-Verify while completing Form I-9 for the said employee.
  3. Creation of an E-Verify case for the employee in question (excluding re-verification) should exist.
  4. Employers must remain enrolled and actively participate in E-Verify.

It’s vital to remember that if you, as an employer, do not meet all the stated requirements, you are mandated to conduct an in-person physical document examination by the August 30, 2023 deadline.

Alternative Procedure Highlights:

  • Starting from August 1, 2023, eligible employers can initiate the new alternative procedure.
  • A live video interaction is required for each employee whose documents underwent remote examination but were never physically checked in person.
  • For those who utilized fax, email, or live video during COVID-19 flexibilities, another live video interaction is a must by August 30, 2023.
  • Form I-9 needs to be annotated with specific details such as “alternative procedure,” the date of the second remote document examination, and employer initials. The placement of this annotation should be adjacent to the previous one.
  • Employers should refrain from creating another E-Verify case based on the second remote examination.

On the other hand, if an employer wasn’t enrolled in E-Verify during the specified period, they must resort to the traditional in-person physical document examination by the designated date. Notably, this in-person check can be completed through an Authorized Representative.

To ensure compliance and reduce complications, it’s recommended that all E-Verify employers thoroughly review and understand these new guidelines.

Additional Outside Information

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