Breaking News: Important Updates to I-9 Flexibilities and Canada’s Open Work Permit Pathway for H-1B Visa Holders

News RoomJuly 24, 20230

Breaking News: Important Updates to I-9 Flexibilities and Canada’s Open Work Permit Pathway for H-1B Visa Holders

At Brown Immigration Law, we strive to be your company’s partner in growth and innovation, on a global scale. We continue our commitment to demystifying the complex immigration laws of the United States and Canada to provide efficient and effective immigration and global mobility support. Please find the most recent breaking business immigration news below.


USCIS Announces Update to Form I-9 Starting August 1, 2023 with Remote Verification of Document Instructions Included

Last Friday, USCIS released an update, noting the following: “On Aug. 1, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will publish a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Among the improvements to the form is a checkbox employers enrolled in E-Verify can use to indicate they remotely examined identity and employment authorization documents under an alternative procedure authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) described below.”

As we previously reported in May, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that although the COVID-19 flexibilities afforded to employers to reach Form I-9 compliance (under which they could remotely examine the employees’ documents and enter COVID-19 as the reason for the physical examination delay) would sunset on July 31, 2023, employers will now get a month’s reprieve, until August 30, 2023, to perform all required physical examination of identity and employment eligibility documents for those individuals hired on or after March 20, 2020, and who have only received a virtual or remote examination under the flexibilities. In addition, at the time of our last update, DHS was reviewing public comments and plans in response to its proposed rule to allow for optional alternative procedures for the examination of identity and employment eligibility documents, with plans to issue a final rule.

On Friday July 21, 2023, DHS announced the final rule, but also published an accompanying document (scheduled for publication on July 25, 2023), which permits e-Verify employers to remotely examine I-9 documents, noting the following procedure:

  • Employers must be enrolled in E-Verify;
  • Examine and retain copies of all documents;
  • Conduct a live video interaction with the employee; and
  • Create an E-Verify case if the employee is a new hire.

    The revised Form I-9:

    • Reduces Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet;
    • Is designed to be a fillable form on tablets and mobile devices;
    • Moves the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate, standalone supplement that employers can provide to employees when necessary;
    • Moves Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, to a standalone supplement that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required;
    • Revises the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation;
    • Reduces Form instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages; and
    • Includes a checkbox allowing employers to indicate they examined Form I-9 documentation remotely under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.

    The revised Form I-9 (edition date 08/01/23) will be published on on Aug. 1, 2023. Employers can use the current Form I-9 (edition date 10/21/19) through Oct. 31, 2023. Starting Nov. 1, 2023, all employers must use the new Form I-9. Despite the increased flexibility created by the new regulations and form, employers are still required to complete I-9s that were not properly completed in conjunction with the I-9 requirements prior to the introduction of these new regulations because of COVID-19 flexibilities. Should you require assistance with ongoing compliance issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.


    Update – Unbelievable Demand Soon After the Program Starts Fills All 10,000 Spots in Canada’s Open Work Permit Pathway for H-1B Visa Holders

    After the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship announced the new program on June 27th at a tech conference, a new temporary public program aimed at U.S. H-1B visa holders opened on July 16, 1023 to surging demand – the 10,000-application intake cap was hit less than 48 hours later. The oversubscription of Canada’s H-1B open work permit pathway is a clear sign of H-1B visa holders’ pent-up demand for reliable immigration programs. The benefit offered through this program was a three-year open market work permit, essentially permitting individuals with current H-1B status the ability to move to Canada and work without restrictions for that period. This option was likely attractive to individuals maxing out their six-year stay in H-1B status without a clear opportunity for U.S. permanent residence.

    Individuals who successfully apply will have to finalize their entry “visa” applications if a TRV is required, and then enter Canada. We’ll have a better sense a few months from now as to whether all 10,000 will be processed and used, or whether applicants were applying out of caution to create a backup opportunity in Canada.

    Although the open work permit pathway is now closed, H-1B visa holders in the US may be eligible for alternative immigration programs, including through immigrating permanently through Canada’s federal economic immigration programs (e.g., Express Entry). Please let us know if you are seeking an additional North American option via Canada to manage risk to your mobility program.


    Business Immigration Law Primer

    In 45 minutes Managing Partner, David Zaritzky Brown, will walk participants through the most common non-immigrant visa types and explain how we manage cases and ensure clients are matched with the status that best meets their needs. He will highlight common issues employers and employees encounter when determining the best visa status and navigating the process. He will also outline the typical options available for permanent status and considerations for proper immigration policy. This presentation will be useful for both HR/management running such programs and individuals in the U.S. on a visa status (or those contemplating coming to the U.S.). David is happy to spend some of the Q&A time discussing specific case scenarios to show how we work through real-life situations.

    Locking Down Your Investment in Human Capital through Green Card Filing

    In this session Managing Partner, David Zaritzky Brown, will be joined by Managing Attorney, Mason Ellis as they discuss available Green Card options. Depending on the type of employee hired or job performed there could be a wide variety of options available in some circumstances. In most cases, the truly viable option is an I-140 based PERM. David and Mason will walk you through the most common approaches we take and how we identify the way forward in starting a Green Card process. As always, David and Mason will stay on for a generous Q&A time to provide answers to interested attendees.

    Canada’s Innovative Immigration Programs Can Help Companies Drive Their Business Globally

    In this session, Managing Attorney, Clinton Green, and Managing Partner, David Zaritzky Brown, discuss the recent changes and trends in Canadian immigration and how they combine to make it easier for companies to hire and retain global talent. They will also highlight how companies can leverage Canada’s immigration programs to implement regional talent hubs in Canada to support their global business needs.

    This presentation will be useful for both HR/Management looking at starting up or increasing their Canadian operations or who are contemplating solutions to managing risk to their immigration programs in the US. Clinton and David will facilitate a Q&A session to provide answers to interested attendees.

    Once registered, you will receive an email with a link to use to join the video chat on the day of the event. Please note: This link should not be shared with others; it is unique to you. If you ever misplace the invitation link, simply visit the webinar schedule on our website

    If you have colleagues who may benefit from our talks, you are welcome to invite them to join by sharing our webinar schedule where they can subscribe for further information.

    Don’t miss these opportunities to increase your knowledge on important immigration issues!

    Thank you and we look forward to having you at the event.

    Best Regards,
    The Team at Brown Immigration Law

    ** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **


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