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A Form from Another Era: How Remote I-9 Verifications Push Compliance Forward

While the process and options for I-9 Verification has evolved over time, form I-9 has been a fact of employment since the Reagan years (1986!).

We wanted to put this into perspective—how has the country’s cultural taste and technological prowess similarly evolved during this period? Below, we track Form I-9’s shifts over the years, juxtaposed against contemporary cultural and digital milestones. For those readers prone to feeling old, proceed with caution!

1986: The Beginning of I-9 Verifications

Employement Compliance Top Gun

I-9 and E-Verify History: The Immigration Reform and Control Act creates Form I-9, requiring job seekers to produce identification documents from a list of 29 approved forms of ID to demonstrate employment eligibility.

Number One Movie in America: Top Gun, with Crocodile Dundee coming in a (distant) second place.

Digital Milestone: IBM announced its first laptop computer, which weighed 12 pounds—a staggering 18 pounds less than the lightest computer at the time.

Phones: It was all landlines at this point. Some of you are too young to remember, but we used to twirl phone cords while leashed to the wall. One year later, Gordon Gecko would model an early cellphone prototype in the movie Wall Street.

1996: E-Verify By Another Name

I9 ID4

I-9 and E-Verify History: The Illegal Immigration Reform and the Immigrant Responsibility Act creates the framework for E-Verify, called the Basic Pilot Program at the time.

Number One Movie in America: Independence Day

Digital Milestone: For the first time in US history, more emails are sent than standard mail through the US Post Service; Craigslist goes live for the first time.

Phones: The first Palm Pilots are introduced (remember those?), the Palm 1000 and 5000.

2006: Biometric Data Debuts

EVerify Pirates

I-9 and E-Verify History: The Basic Pilot Program is officially renamed E-Verify and, more importantly, photo-matching technology is introduced to the platform for the first time. Photo matching is the first instance of biometric data being utilized for employment eligibility verification.

Number One Movie in America: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. This was before Johnny Depp ritualistically and repeatedly committed career suicide.

Digital Milestone: Twitter launches, with the world’s first Tweet going out into the world on July 15. A purely productive and harmonious discourse has resulted.

Phones: Apple quietly makes plans to announce a new product and category, which will be released the following year. Yup, the iPhone is coming.

2016: Necessary Revisions for form I-9

I9 Verification Dory

I-9 and E-Verify History: Form I-9 undergoes a much-needed series of updates, not shifting requirements as much as refining language, numbering, and other measures to simplify the process and clear up confusion. The employer guide, M-274, is also heavily revised.

Number One Movie in America: Finding Dory

Digital Milestone: Cryptocurrency Ethereum debuts, though it will be several years before it enters public consciousness through a whole bunch of Super Bowl commercials.

Phones: Samsung officially recalls and discontinues the Galaxy Note 7 after repeated incidents of the phone spontaneously combusting. Seriously.

2020: Suspending In-Person Requirements

Employement Eligibility Bad Boys

I-9 and E-Verify History: DHS suspends the in-person requirements for Form I-9 in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. DHS subsequently announces, then repeatedly postpones, lifting the suspension.

Number One Movie in America: Bad Boys for Life (but nobody went to the movies in 2020, remember?).

Digital Milestone: Fueled by the pandemic, Zoom increases meeting participants by a simply ludicrous 2900%.

Phones: 97% of all Americans own a smartphone. The pandemic forces users to get more familiar and comfortable with new digital technologies, and Boomers everywhere download DoorDash.

Times Change but Form I-9 Remains Relatively the Same

The requirements for and purpose behind Form I-9 has remained constant since 1986, though the technologies and processes have necessarily evolved over the last 30+ years. In fact, TrendSource helped push I-9 Verifications into the digital and remote age, rapidly connecting New Hires with Field Agents to verify their Section 2 documents in person.

For companies still doing employment compliance the old fashioned way, it’s time to move into the remote, digital era with TrendSource’s Remote I-9 Verifications.

We’d be willing to bet it’s been a long time since you watched Crocodile Dundee.

Learn More About Remote I-9 Verifications + E-Verify

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