With an increase in remote employees, there has been a push for the remote reviewing of Form I-9 documents to become permanent. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began allowing virtual review of Form I-9 documents for safety reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many supporters believe the policy allowing virtual review of these documents should become permanent due to its ease of use and efficiency.
In March 2020, ICE first stopped requiring employers to review their employees’ employment authorization and identity documents physically. As an alternative, ICE began allowing those employers operating remotely to remotely inspect new hires’ records remotely. Then, once their employees returned to the office, they would physically inspect the documents.
The permission to virtually inspect documents has been extended repeatedly since March 2020, and the current extension runs through April 2022. However, back in October 2021, ICE requested that employers comment on how remote review worked for them. ICE wanted this information to allow them to consider whether or not they should make the virtual review of identity and employment authorization documents for Form I-9 permanent.
Since the remote review of Form I-9 documents could become permanent, businesses should develop an effective virtual I-9 process for their business. This could be very important in case of an audit. So, here are some tips that could help businesses avoid problems with their remote I-9 process.
It is a good idea to have good equipment such as cameras that will ensure that the remote process is effective. It is also essential that employers have a way to review the documents of employees that don’t have a way to take part in video calls.
Businesses must keep any I-9 documents secure. These documents need to be stored in an easily accessible place if necessary yet still safe and secure. This can be difficult for employers who complete Form I-9s on paper and some remotely because it is crucial to keep track of which documents were completed remotely and which were done on paper.
The most important rule during the I-9 process is to remain compliant. Although the number of audits has decreased with the current administration, it’s still crucial for businesses to always be prepared for an audit.
Completing Form I-9 can be complicated, and easy to make costly mistakes due to misunderstanding of the requirements. The best way to avoid making mistakes is through an electronic I-9 management tool. Guiding employers through the employment verification process, ensuring they know which documents are suitable to prove work authorization, and keeping the documents secure and easily accessible when needed.