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DHS Seeks Comments on Information Collection Related to a Pilot Program for Remote Verification of Form I-9 Documents

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeks comments on a new information collection request (ICR) entitled, “Non-E-Verify Remote Document Examination Pilot 1.” On July 21, 2023, we notified you that DHS published a final rule which authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement an optional alternative to the in-person physical document examination method employers have followed as part of the Form I-9 process to allow employers enrolled in E-Verify to remotely examine Form I-9 documents. Per today’s new ICR, DHS is now seeking comments on a pilot procedure that may potentially result in similar alternative procedures being available for employers that do not participate in E-Verify.

Through the “Non-E-Verify Remote Document Examination Pilot 1” (Pilot) being proposed today, DHS seeks to identify the potential effects of a specific pilot procedure on the security of the employment verification system.  DHS will evaluate a range of potential effects on system integrity (such as error or fraud rates and discrimination) between physical examination of the Form I-9 documents and remote examination pursuant to today’s proposed pilot procedure for employers who are not in E-Verify. DHS notes that the pilot procedure would resemble the alternative procedure for employers in E-Verify, but would not, however, be available to employers participating in E-Verify as they will continue to use the alternative procedure that was announced on July 21. While today’s pilot may be open to most employers who are not in E-Verify, DHS may limit it to employers below a specified size threshold (e.g., 500 employees).

The ICR notes that employers must complete a form to request to participate in the Non-E-Verify pilot. DHS would regularly request feedback data (e.g., number of new hires, number of employees who requested to have a physical inspection, challenges associated with the pilot procedure) from participating employers. Participating employers would be required to examine and retain electronic copies that are clear and legible of all supporting documentation provided by individuals seeking to establish identity and employment authorization for the Form I-9 process. DHS adds that employers may be required to undertake other measures to improve the security of the pilot procedure. For instance, participating employers may be required to undertake fraudulent document detection and anti-discrimination training. In addition, for those employees who work onsite (i.e., at the same physical worksite as a supervisor or the official completing the Form I-9) or in a hybrid capacity, the employer may be prohibited from using the pilot procedure or provided a timeframe following the initial remote document examination during which to physically examine the employee’s Form I-9 documents and compare such documents to the copies on file.

Comments are due by October 2, 2023 and can be submitted here using Docket ID ICEB-2023-0007.

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