Adapting for Form I-9 and Verification Processes

Recently, the federal government has made some changes to the employee verification process. These include modifications to Form I-9 and a new e-verification system that is set to roll out next year. Here is a summary of these recent changes.

What Is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is the employment eligibility verification form put forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS). Employers must use this form to verify an employee’s identity and to establish that the worker is eligible to accept employment in the United States. Both employees and employers (or an authorized representative of the employer) must complete the I-9 when a worker is hired. 

The I-9 is not submitted to the federal government under regular circumstances, but it must be retained by the employee for three years from the date of hire or one year from the date that employment ceases, whichever comes later. It can be retained in a variety of formats, but it must be available for inspection by authorized government officers, and there are additional rules for ensuring that I-9s are housed securely and disposed of properly after the required holding period. Employers are subject to penalties if they don’t comply with their employee verification requirements or if the form is incomplete.

One significant change is that employees can now use a driver’s license or passport from any state or territory, regardless of where they live. Additionally, employees can utilize a foreign passport with a valid U.S. visa or a permanent resident card. These changes aim to simplify the verification process and provide flexibility for employees.

What Is E-Verify?

E-Verify is a free Internet-based system operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The system allows employers to ensure that the employees they hire are eligible to work in the United States by checking their identity and employment eligibility against federal records.

USCIS is currently developing a new E-Verify system, which is set to launch in 2024. This improved system is intended to be more user-friendly and informative for employers. It will allow real-time tracking of E-Verify cases and provide detailed information about verification failures, making the process smoother and more transparent.

Understanding E-Verify Requirements

E-Verify is not mandatory for all employers. Federal contractors and subcontractors with contracts exceeding $100,000 and employers in states that mandate the use of E-Verify are obliged to use the system, though certain organizations and agencies are exempt. With the exception of federal contractors and subcontractors, its use is currently optional in the state of California.

Getting Help

The new Form I-9 and E-Verify system are aimed at simplifying the employment eligibility verification process for employers, but there are still many things that can go wrong. To put your business on its soundest footing, it’s best to work with an employer defense attorney who can help you ensure your employee management systems are in good working order. At Integrated General Counsel, P.C., we work regularly with employers who need help becoming or staying compliant with California’s complicated employment laws, and we would be happy to assist you too. Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us today to discuss your specific needs by calling (925) 399-1529.

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