After Four Years, DHS Finalizes Electronic I-9 Regulations

THE LAWLOGIX GUARDIAN ELECTRONIC I-9 SYSTEM MEETS AND EXCEEDS THE REQUIREMENTS IN THE FINAL RULE

PHOENIX, Ariz., July 23, 2010 – Lawlogix Group, Inc., the leader in I-9 and E-Verify compliance software, announced today that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finalized the rule on the use of electronic signatures and storage of the Form I-9, which must be completed for all new employees to document their eligibility to work in the U.S. The so-called “Electronic I-9 Rule” was first published in 2006 as a means of modernizing employers’ efforts to comply with employment eligibility verification. Despite many public comments and suggestions, the rule remained in “interim” status for four years, leaving many employers uncertain of how to proceed with an electronic I-9 solution.

“Many of us in the field were cautiously optimistic when the DHS first announced the rule in 2006,” said John Fay, VP of Products and Services and General Counsel of LawLogix. “Moving the error-prone I-9 process into the digital age seemed like a win-win decision for all involved. Unfortunately though, the proposed electronic I-9 rule was vague in certain areas and overly burdensome in others and, as a result, employers have been slow to adopt an electronic system which could save them a significant amount of time and headaches. Today’s rule is a step in the right direction, especially as employers continue to struggle with I-9 requirements in today’s climate of increasing enforcement.”

According to the DHS, the final rule published today provides additional guidance for employers by relaxing certain technical requirements of the original I-9 rule and allowing for flexibility in choosing the right system. In particular, the rule clarifies provisions relating to the electronic I-9 audit trail, data indexing requirements, and the employee receipt among others. DHS does not intend, however, to provide any additional guidance or requirements on a number of critical factors such as electronic signature, converting of paper I-9s, and security standards.

Dan Siciliano, co-founder of LawLogix and a frequent commentator on immigration and employment eligibility policy and reform, notes the dilemma this creates. “At the end of the day, the I-9 process is a compliance function which means that employers have to follow frequently changing and often contradictory rules to avoid government penalties. This is a constant struggle for employers. As a provider of electronic I-9 and E-Verify software, our approach has always been to take the most conservative reading of the current regulations and build solutions which enable our clients to make an informed decision in consultation with their own immigration counsel. This approach has clearly paid off, as the LawLogix Guardian solution meets and exceeds the requirements in both the final rule and the previous interim rule.”

To read more about the final rule on electronic I-9s, please visit the LawLogix I-9 and E-Verify blog at http://www.electronic-i9.com/?p=480.