Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP

OSC Discourages Pre-Population of I-9 Forms


The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) recently responded (PDF) to a query about whether pre-population of employee information in section 1 of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is permissible. The query stated that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had said that pre-population is impermissible.

The OSC’s response noted that the I-9 instructions state that the employee must complete and sign section 1. Someone may assist the employee if he or she is unable to complete the form.

The OSC said that it discourages employers from pre-populating section 1 with previously obtained employee information. The agency noted that this increases the likelihood of including inaccurate or outdated information, which could lead an employer to reject documents presented or demand specific documents. This is particularly true, the OSC noted, if the employer does not provide an opportunity for the employee to review the information that was pre-populated and build in a method for making corrections. Further, the OSC noted, a mismatch could result if the employer uses outdated information to submit an E-Verify query.

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