The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it intends to issue a rule sometime this month that will give options for virtually examining documents when reviewing Form I-9 in some situations or with specific employers.
To publish this rule in the Federal Register, it must be approved by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. This final step is underway as the office is currently reviewing the proposal.
During the pandemic, employers could virtually review Form I-9 documents in certain circumstances. If this proposed rule is published, it will benefit employers hiring remote employees. Many employers would like a remote option for reviewing documents but would also like to have better methods for doing so.
Employers must complete Form I-9 for every hired employee, verifying their authorization to work in the United States. Before the pandemic, employers had to inspect the I-9 documents physically. However, this inspection process changed when the DHS allowed employers with employees working remotely to check Form I-9 documentation virtually. This inspection included methods such as fax, videoconferencing, and e-mail. The flexibility that allows for this virtual review of documents is set to end on October 31.
If the new rule is published, the option to virtually review Form I-9 documents will be good for both employers and employees before employers had the option of virtually reviewing documents; they often used authorized representatives to review records. However, this was sometimes problematic as the authorized representative is often not aware of all of the I-9 compliance requirements. Therefore, employers must check the form carefully for errors once they receive it.
Remote inspection will give employers more options, though none of the current options is ideal. For example, an email has been one of the more common options for remote document review. However, the provided documents contain very sensitive information and are vulnerable to misuse if adequate security procedures are not in place.
Faxing is not ideal because it is challenging to confirm whether the documents are genuine. However, it does allow employers to see whether the documents are related to the person. Unfortunately, the current methods have significant problems, which is why many employers hope for something better.
Employers must complete Form I-9 for all of their employees. Regardless of whether the process is completed in the office or remotely, filling out Form I-9 can be challenging and complicated. Mistakes are easy to make and can lead to fines or penalties. The best way to fill out Form I-9 is by using an electronic I-9 tool. This tool will guide employers through every step of the process, thus guaranteeing the I-9 is completed correctly. The Form I-9 will also be safely and securely stored until needed.
Streamline your hiring process with automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.