HR Compliance Update: USCIS Permanent Virtual Verification for Form I-9


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By Jenna McCaffery, Director of Engagement & Innovation

Hey there! Jenna McCaffery here, your trusty Principal Consultant at FIT HR, bringing you the latest updates in the world of HR compliance! Today, we’re diving into a game-changing update that’s set to revolutionize how we handle employment eligibility verification – say hello to the new era of permanent virtual verification for Form I-9 documents.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has just given employers a fresh avenue to confirm employment eligibility. On July 21, 2023, they unveiled a groundbreaking rule that went into effect on August 1, 2023. This new rule introduces an alternative procedure known as “permanent virtual verification,” enabling qualifying employers to inspect Form I-9 documents virtually instead of the traditional physical verification process.

What’s the scoop on the new Form I-9 documents?

Well, prior to this, the process for confirming employment eligibility relied on in-person physical document examinations. However, the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a temporary remote verification option for remote employees. The temporary solution came to an end on July 31, making way for the new, innovative approach to begin on August 1, 2023.

But who exactly gets to tap into this new way of verification? The privilege of permanent virtual verification is extended to qualified employers who meet specific criteria. These include being in good standing in the E-Verify program, enrollment in E-Verify for all hiring sites within the United States, compliance with E-Verify requirements, and completing an E-Verify tutorial on fraud awareness and anti-discrimination.

If you’re a qualified employer ready to embrace this new Form I-9 approach, here’s the lowdown on what you need to do:

  1. Virtually examine both sides of your employees’ identity and employment authorization documents or acceptable receipts.
  2. Engage in a live interaction with the employee to verify the documents.
  3. Indicate the use of the alternative procedure on Form I-9.
  4. Keep clear and legible copies of all presented documents.
  5. Be prepared to provide copies of these documents in the event of an audit.

Remember, the choice to adopt the permanent virtual verification process is yours. It’s also your call whether to apply it solely to remote employees or those on-site or in hybrid capacities. Fairness and equality are key in this decision-making process.

For those of you who aren’t currently part of the E-Verify program, don’t worry! You can enroll, take the tutorial, and start using the alternative virtual verification procedure right away.

If you’re an employer who previously used the remote examination process during the COVID-19 flexibilities, you can continue with this approach. If you meet certain conditions, you’re in luck – this means more convenience and continuity for your verification process.

To make things smoother with the Form I-9 transition:

The USCIS released a new one-page version of Form I-9 on August 1, 2023; you can find it here. This version aligns with the changes needed for virtual verification, including a checkbox to indicate remote examination. You can keep using the current form until October 31, 2023, when the new version becomes mandatory.

The introduction of permanent virtual verification is a significant step towards modernizing the employment eligibility verification process. By embracing technology, you’ll be able to verify documents efficiently and securely, no matter the geographical barriers. It’s a win-win situation that enhances efficiency while ensuring compliance with immigration and employment regulations.

So there you have it, a glimpse into the exciting new frontier of employment eligibility verification. As your partner in business development and growth, we’re here to keep you ahead of the curve. Stay tuned for more HR insights, tips, and virtual high-fives from yours truly. Until next time, stay compliant, stay connected, and continue making waves in the world of HR!

Helpful Resources for more Form I-9 information:

Ready to revolutionize your HR compliance game? Let’s explore the future of employment eligibility verification together! Connect with us here and let’s turn compliance into a digital advantage. Your business deserves it!