We certainly revel in expressing our opinions on social media. Until December 27, 2021 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are seeking public comments concerning alternatives to the in-person physical examination of documents that support the Employment Eligibility Verification, or I-9.
DHS’ request for input listed considerations for “Future Remote Document Examination Procedures,” meaning a possible permanent remote verification. The 13 considerations are:
- What are the direct and indirect burdens on employees and employers related to the physical document examination requirement for Form I-9?
- What are the direct and indirect burdens on employees and employers related to the use of authorized representatives to meet the physical document examination requirement?
- What would be the direct and indirect benefits of offering a permanent option for remote document examination of Form I-9 identity and work eligibility documents (for example, allowing some employers to centralize Form I-9 processing)?
- What would be the direct and indirect costs of offering a permanent option for remote document examination of Form I-9 identity and work eligibility documents (for example, training or technology acquisition costs)?
- What would be the direct and indirect burdens on small employers for the items listed above? What are the unique challenges faced by small employers with this process and these flexibilities? What kinds of alternatives should be provided for small employers in adopting these flexibilities?
- If employers were allowed a permanent option for remote document examination, what types of employers and/or employees do you anticipate would be interested in participating or not interested in participating?
- How might participation requirements as a condition of these flexibilities, such as required enrollment in E-Verify, document or image quality or retention requirements, or required completion of training offered by DHS, impact an employer’s desire or ability to utilize such a flexibility?
- What would be the costs or benefits associated with making enrollment in E-Verify a condition of flexibilities for you, as an employer?
- If DHS were to permanently allow an option for remote document examination, what technical considerations would participating employers have to consider?
- What impact would a permanent option for remote document examination have on employees and employers, if any? If these flexibilities are adopted, are there requirements DHS should adopt to ensure employee rights related to document examination are protected?
- Are there solutions that would enable employers to verify that documents that are examined remotely appear to be genuine and to relate to the individual presenting them? What actions by DHS would encourage the commercial development of such solutions?
- Should DHS consider changes to the current lists of acceptable documents on the Form I-9, in the context of remote document examination? What would be the costs and benefits of such changes?
- Are there any other factors DHS should consider related to remote document examination?
It appears that DHS is serious about a permanent remote inspection option that would eliminate the need for an in-person physical inspection of documents during the I-9 process. Two very interesting questions are whether employers will be required to enroll in E-Verify and whether they will be required to complete training offered by DHS.