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BAL submitted a public comment to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) last week, urging the agency to modernize the Form I-9 process to allow employers to complete employment eligibility verification in an electronic environment.
The comment was submitted in response to a Request for Public Input (RPI) issued in October. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) introduced temporary measures early in the COVID-19 pandemic that allow for remote document examination in the Form I-9 process. ICE recently extended the temporary guidance through April 30, 2022.
BAL urged USCIS to develop processes that take into account the rise in remote work.
“Multiple companies that have relied on the temporary ICE policy provided positive feedback to BAL about their experiences conducting verifications remotely,” BAL wrote, adding, “They expressed strong support for making remote verification available permanently, to improve the process for both employers and employees.”
BAL also recommended broader changes to modernize the Form I-9 process, that USCIS update its Lists of Acceptable Documents and that USCIS and ICE continue to issue proactive guidance to employers about I-9 requirements.
The RPI comment period will remain open until Dec. 27. In the semi-annual regulatory agenda published this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that next year it would publish a notice of proposed rulemaking on “alternative document examination procedures under certain circumstances or with respect to certain employers.”
BAL Analysis: BAL has heard from a number of companies that would like to see remote document verification be available on a permanent basis. DHS will likely take into account responses it receives to the RPI in formulating the proposal included in the regulatory agenda. BAL will continue to monitor for regulatory developments and government guidance relating to the Form I-9 process and will provide updates as information becomes available.
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