The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a new permanent option for remote verification of Form I-9. This new regulation will allow some employers to virtually inspect employees’ documentation during employment eligibility verification (Form I-9).
These changes will take effect on August 1, 2023. However, previously hired employees must have their documentation verified in person. According to the announcement, the changes apply to new hires only.
The new rule’s release comes just in time, as the temporary flexibilities from the COVID-19 pandemic will expire after the rule takes effect. Had it expired, many employers who used remote verification during the pandemic would have to review these I-9 documents in person before the end of August. The changes taking effect at the beginning of August have provided these employers time to reorganize and confirm whether they qualify for the approved alternative.
According to the new rule, only employers in good standing and registered for E-Verify may virtually inspect I-9 documents. The DHS explained this requirement to address how more Americans have begun working remotely. As such, the agency hopes to “[safeguard] the integrity of the employment eligibility verification process” and reflect the modern reality of the workforce.
In addition to using E-Verify, employers using remote verification must examine copies of an employee’s chosen documentation within three days of their first day of work. They may do so by conducting a live video interaction with their employee to ensure the documents they provide appear genuine. The employer must also check the box on Form I-9 that indicates the employer used a remote process.
Furthermore, the rule allows the DHS to conduct a pilot program that could extend remote verification to more employers. The agency expects to gather data from this pilot program to build a more expansive system. According to the DHS, it hopes to allow more businesses to utilize improved alternatives.
This new development will prove highly beneficial for employers looking to operate remotely. However, these changes act as a reminder that the Form I-9 regulations constantly shift. These changes often lead to mistakes and costly violations, making compliance challenging.
The best way to maintain compliance is to incorporate an I-9 management tool with E-Verify integration into the onboarding process. This tool can provide a suite of features to help ensure compliance. It includes step-by-step guidance, storage for forms and documentation, and reminders on when to take action to maintain compliance.
Automate your employment eligibility verification today with the ensured compliance of I-9 Compliance.